The Oklahoma Department of Corrections confirmed that now a total of seven of its staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Related Story: ODOC: 1 Inmate, 5 Staff Members Test Positive for COVID-19
One of the ODOC employee's who tested positive on April 9 works at the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester.
The positive test results were then reported to the state and the county health departments. An investigator from the Pittsburg County Health Department contacted every employee who had contact with the staff member who contracted the coronavirus.
Although the CDC stated that an individual who has COVID-19 can be asymptomatic, ODOC is asking its staff members who are awaiting their test results and are feeling well to continue to return to work.
“ODOC employees identified as critical to the facility infrastructure. Thankfully, the ODOC workers exposed to the infected employee tested negative to the virus,” said Matthew Elliott of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
The ODOC stated that it has been implementing very strict precautions to ensure the safety of all its workers and inmates.
Prior to every staff member's shift, they are pre-screened for coughing, fever or shortness of breath symptoms.
Since the middle of March, every employee has been given a face mask. The ODOC provides face masks three days a week for all inmates and staff. Workers can also bring in approved, cloth coverings for their face if the facility is experiencing a shortage. Sanitizing work areas is done several times a day, according to the ODOC.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety donated more than 100 gallons of hand sanitizer to ODOC facilities.
Inmates have reportedly sewn face masks and are producing over hundreds of gallons of their own hand sanitizer for use.
“So far, one inmate of more than 24,000 in ODOC custody has tested positive for the virus. While one is one too many, that minimal number is because of the efforts of ODOC staff on all levels with much help from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, county health departments, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Elliott said.
The ODOC is actively and continuously working on keeping its facilities safe for every staff member and inmate.
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