Nearly half of state prisoners test positive for COVID-19

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Nearly half of the prisoners at state facilities in South Dakota have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to figures released Monday by the Department of Corrections.

The update was posted after a weekend in which cases of the coronavirus doubled among the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls and the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield.

The report shows that as of Sept. 30 there have been 1,555 positive cases among the state's 3,347 prisoners, a rate of 46%. The Mike Durfee State Prison has confirmed the most cases with 674, which means that two of every three inmates has tested positive for the virus.

The South Dakota State Penitentiary has recorded the second most cases with 506, but the highest positivity rate at 73%. The penitentiary has the largest number of infections among staff, with 35.

The three women’s prisons in Pierre have seen 243 cases.