COVID in Wyoming’s men’s prisons: more staff than inmates

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — More staff than inmates at Wyoming's men's prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past month, the Department of Corrections said.

Since July 23, the state has reported 43 cases of COVID-19 among staff at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins and the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington. A total of 20 inmates in those two facilities tested positive over the same period of time.

“Historically, we’ve had far more positives in our inmate population, as a percentage of the population, than we’ve had for staff,” Wyoming Department of Corrections spokesperson Paul Martin said Wednesday. “I think that trend is changing now.”

About 35% of prison employees report being fully vaccinated, compared to 64% of inmates, the agency said.

Vaccinations are not required for anyone, Martin told the Casper Star-Tribune, but are offered to employees and inmates.

Inmates are still wearing face coverings and social distancing, Martin said.

Most of the positive cases among inmates are found when they are tested when they arrive at a facility, he said.

The only facility that did not experience an outbreak during the peak of the pandemic was the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk. This month, the women's prison has reported five cases among staff and 11 among inmates.

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