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Somerset Prison COVID-19 Cases Surge to 285 Inmates

November 17th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

An abrupt spike in COVID-19 cases now has one in three inmates positive inside a prison dedicated to caring for many of Pennsylvania's frailest offenders. The Tribune Democrat reports that following a decline that brought the case count to 40 late last week, the number of positives has surged to 285 inmates over the past several days, the Department of Corrections' COVID-19 dashboard showed Tuesday.

Another 23 employees at the prison are also positive.

Department of Corrections staff were contacted for comment Tuesday and indicated they were working to provide more details about the virus outbreak.

The prison's population – cut in half in the spring to enable inmates to better social distance – is currently at 832, including prisoners who receive personal care, nursing home care and dialysis among other "special needs" that also put many at a higher risk for complications due to COVID-19.

The prison's jump in cases comes as Cambria and Somerset counties have seen sharp increases over the past six weeks.