Utah State Prison under lockdown after two prisoners in general population see rapid positive tests for COVID-19

(Chris Detrick | Tribune file photo) The Utah State Prison in Draper Thursday May 21, 2015.

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The Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison remained on 24-hour lockdown Thursday as a result of possible COVID-19 transmission within the general inmate population.

The lockdown, which began 3 p.m. Wednesday, was due to two inmates testing positive for the disease from rapid tests. The Utah Department of Corrections is now awaiting the results of their PCR tests to confirm the positives.

The two positives, if confirmed, would be the first at either the Utah State Prison or the Central Utah Correctional Facility within the general imprisoned population. There have been past positives at the facilities, but those either came from incoming prisoners — who are quarantined for 14 days — or from incarcerated people from county jails, which the larger prisons sometimes contract to hold.

Law enforcement officials are working with state and local health officials on containment steps, including contact tracing and cleaning, according to a brief statement on the Department of Corrections website. They say that they are following or exceeding CDC recommendations as they follow these procedures.

In particular, outside access to prisoners has been interrupted as a result of the precautions, but the Department of Corrections statement said that they plan on “easing back” those restrictions on Friday, resuming prisoner access to phones.

As of Monday, the Utah State Prison reported 1,418 total inmate tests for the coronavirus and 15 total inmate infections. All but one had recovered. No deaths have been reported at any of the state’s correctional facilities or community correctional centers.