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Four more inmates test positive in Centre County

BELLEFONTE — Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise at the Centre County Correctional Facility.

Four more inmates at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the county’s Prison Board of Inspectors.

The county jail in Benner Township now has six cases of the coronavirus among inmates. The first case was reported on April 19. The second case was reported on April 23.

The four individuals reported on Wednesday were already in quarantine prior to exhibiting symptoms and will remain so for an additional 14 days, according to the release. Hospitalization is not needed at this time. The first two inmates to test positive were placed in isolation since they began exhibiting symptoms, according to a press release.

All six inmates who tested positive were in the same housing unit at the facility.

In addition to the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, seven inmates have tested negative. Five correctional officers also have tested negative.

Since early March, the facility has implemented COVID-19 protocols in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including no visitations, suspension of work release programs, increased disinfection sweeps and screening of staff and inmates. Routine temperature checks and universal masking also are in place, and medical staff are on premises at all times.

“All measures to protect the health and safety of our staff and incarcerated individuals continue with additional efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus within our facility,” Warden Christopher Schell said in the release.

The correctional facility, county Court of Common Pleas, offices of the district attorney, public defender and probation have collaborated to identify inmates who are most vulnerable to the virus and would not pose a public safety risk if released. Between March 22 and April 29, the facility’s population has been reduced from 236 to 148.

Commissioner Michael Pipe previously said some of the releases were individuals who had reached the end of their sentences. The average sentence for an inmate at the facility is between three and four months.

Updates about testing and results will be provided daily on the Centre County Correctional Facility’s COVID-19 website beginning today.

SCI Rockview and SCI Benner currently have no inmate cases of COVID-19. One employee at SCI-Rockview has tested positive.

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