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Jefferson County

2 inmates evacuated to Deer Ridge prison near Madras test positive for COVID-19

Deer Ridge Correctional Institution sign
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State says they are accelerating Coffee Creek inmates' return to Wilsonville

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials say two inmates who were evacuated by bus among others from the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution last week to the Deer Ridge Correctional Facility near Madras have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the woman and man were tested on Sept. 5 and 6, but there was a delay in obtaining the results from a lab, according to Jennifer Black, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.

The positive COVID-19 results of those inmates are what lawyers for inmates and their family members feared would occur in what they’ve criticized as a haphazard evacuation.

Officials say once the positive results came in Monday, the two inmates were immediately isolated and taken back to Coffee Creek in Wilsonville.

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Here's a full statement provided by Black to NewsChannel 21:

On September 14, 2020, the Department of Corrections (DOC) received notification that there were two confirmed positive COVID-19 tests impacting the adult in custody (AIC) population at the Coffee Creek Intake Center and the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF).  The AICs were tested on September 5 and 6, 2020.  The male from Intake had completed his 14-day observation period and was tested at the 10-day mark.  The female AIC was tested as part of her release planning for later this month.  Neither AIC was displaying symptoms.

The delay in DOC receiving the test results was due to a delay with the labs.  Once DOC received the test results, both AICs were immediately medically isolated and transported back to CCCF.

Between September 4 and the wildfire evacuation, the AICs remained mostly with their units and cohorts.  The female AIC was housed with her unit until evacuation and was then housed in a celled unit at DRCI. DOC maintained the cohorts to the best of their ability during the evacuation, but there was some crossover during the evacuation. During transport to DRCI, the buses did not break evenly into housing units, so there was some overlap between cohorts. 

As a result of the positive tests, the Agency Operations Center (AOC) is accelerating the return to CCCF.  DOC is using its own resources for all transportation.  There will be personal protective equipment (PPE) for all AICs and transport staff.  DOC is also arranging for meals and bathroom accommodations during the transport. For the safety of DOC employees, AICs, and the community, additional information regarding transportation will not be released.

DOC will continue to work with local public health authorities and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) concerning testing and contact tracing of AICs upon their return to CCCF.  In addition, DOC will be conducting symptom checks, screening, and quarantining of CCCF AICs per CDC and OHA guidelines. 

At the present time, DOC is not aware that either of the COVID-19 positive AICs had any direct contact with the male population at DRCI.  DOC is continuing to monitor for symptoms and is conducting regular screenings at DRCI.

DOC continues to reinforce hygiene, social distancing, and mask wearing within all institutions – including CCCF and DRCI.

No other information is available at this time.

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