Utah prison locked down as inmates test positive, including in ‘medically vulnerable’ area

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The Utah State Prison is on “code-red lockdown” after officials say the Draper facility may be experiencing a second coronavirus outbreak.

Prison officials said Friday that an inmate in the Oquirrh 5 unit has tested positive for COVID-19, as well as another inmate in the Promontory unit.

The Oquirrh area, prison officials said, is where the “most medically vulnerable” inmates live, and where they have taken the greatest precautions to keep the virus out. And Promontory is dormitory-style housing, which officials said means that exposure was likely significant by the time Friday’s case was confirmed.

“We are deeply concerned about the latest outbreak,” prison officials said. “Our staff are working quickly now to accommodate isolation and quarantine needs.”

The Draper prison already had experienced an explosion of confirmed cases earlier this month, but that outbreak was confined to a different area of the prison. Prison officials said Friday that prior to the new confirmed cases, 312 prisoners had tested positive for the virus and 303 were considered “recovered.”

No one incarcerated at the prison has died of the virus as of Friday.

Prison officials say they are now working with state and local health officials to contain the outbreak, and noted that there are many considerations to make when deciding to move inmates — including safety concerns, gang affiliations and other medical conditions not related to COVID-19.

“As we continue to work through this very fluid situation, please know that incarcerated individuals' basic needs will continue to be met, including meals and medical care,” they said.