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ODOC testing all discharging inmates for COVID-19

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Last week, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections began testing all discharging inmates for COVID-19 prior to their release, using tests provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. One of the inmates from William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply tested Monday, April 20, was released Wednesday, April 22, a few hours prior to ODOC receiving his positive test results. Once an inmate has served his sentence, ODOC has no legal authority to hold them. This inmate showed no symptoms at the time of his testing nor the day of his release.

Upon notification of the positive results, ODOC and the health department coordinated to notify individuals who may have been exposed within the facility and in the community, per state health department and CDC guidelines. ODOC immediately began quarantine procedures for 52 inmates potentially exposed, tested them for the virus, and started performing medical checks for COVID-19 symptoms several times daily. So far, 49 of those tests have returned negative. ODOC should receive test results of the remaining three in the next few days. All 52 inmates remain in quarantine.

Agency staff is now testing inmates at least a week prior to release.

You can find more information related to ODOC’s response to COVID-19 on our website at www.doc.ok.gov. Daily updates on operational changes is available by calling our 24-hour phone line at (405) 425-2556.