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COVID-19: Texas prison that houses Idaho inmates reports first positive case

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 13:35:39-04

This article was originally published by Jacob Scholl of the Idaho Statesman.

On Friday, a prison housing Idaho inmates in Eagle Pass, Texas, reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus among the inmate population, according to the Idaho Department of Corrections.

IDOC director Josh Tewalt wrote in an update Friday that the man who tested positive was moved into quarantine the prior Monday when he began showing symptoms. The unit where he was housed is being monitored to see if others begin showing symptoms.

The Eagle Pass Correctional Facility, a private prison owned and operated by the GEO Group, has housed Idaho prison inmates since 2018, according to the IDOC’s website. The Texas prison — which can hold up to 620 incarcerated men — houses only IDOC inmates, according to IDOC spokesman Jeff Ray.

It was not immediately clear how the virus made its way into the prison.

Among Idaho inmates, the IDOC has performed 3,244 coronavirus tests as of Friday evening. Of those tests, 72 people tested positive and are showing symptoms, while there are 216 people who recently tested positive but are not showing symptoms. Included in IDOC statistics are 735 people who tested positive but are now considered inactive, meaning they have been medically cleared or have been released from IDOC custody.

OVER 200 CASES REPORTED SUNDAY IN IDAHO

Though Idaho reported only around 200 positive coronavirus tests on Sunday, the number of tests completed was less than half of what the state normally reports on a weekday.

In total, 202 new confirmed cases were reported Sunday, with the state completing 1,639 tests, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. During weekdays, the state has added as many as 4,000 tests to its totals.

The county reporting the most cases on Sunday was not Ada or Canyon, which typically reports the most. Bonneville County reported 73 new cases, bringing its total confirmed cases to 901. Just behind was Canyon County, which reported 46 new cases on Sunday and brought its total to 5,515. Twin Falls County reported 28 cases, as the county’s cases now total 1,282.

Ada County reported 18 new cases, a very low total considering it reported 227 new cases and four deaths the previous day. Over the past two weeks, Ada has averaged around 134 new COVID-19 cases per day.

No new deaths were reported Sunday, which leaves the state’s coronavirus death total at 236. With the addition of Sunday’s reported cases, Idaho has now tallied 23,203 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Of those with the virus, over 9,100 people are said to be recovered. According to IDHW’s statistics, the statewide positive testing rate is around 11.3% as of Sunday. Over 204,000 coronavirus tests have been taken in Idaho since the outbreak began.

Coronavirus cases have been found in nearly all of Idaho’s 44 counties: Ada 8,406, Adams 18, Bannock 386, Bear Lake 22, Benewah 54, Bingham 263, Blaine 561, Boise 38, Bonner 178, Bonneville 901, Boundary 37, Camas 1, Canyon 5,515, Caribou 30, Cassia 472, Clark 9, Clearwater 15, Custer 10, Elmore 203, Franklin 45, Fremont 75, Gem 161, Gooding 146, Idaho 31, Jefferson 170, Jerome 422, Kootenai 1,780, Latah 93, Lemhi 24, Lincoln 51, Madison 133, Minidoka 446, Nez Perce 144, Oneida 10, Owyhee 241, Payette 351, Power 56, Shoshone 100, Teton 75, Twin Falls 1,282, Valley 55 and Washington 193.

Community spread has been detected in the majority of Idaho counties: Ada, Bannock, Bear Lake, Benewah, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Power, Shoshone, Teton, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington.