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Two new COVID-19 cases in York County Prison, warden says

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Two more York County Prison inmates have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and are being quarantined, Warden Clair Doll said.

"We also have three other presumptive (positive) cases," he told The York Dispatch on Monday. "We're waiting for test results from a lab."

One inmate's test for the coronavirus came back last week as positive, the warden said.

That inmate and the three presumptive-positive inmates all were being housed in the same area of the prison, which is now locked down to prevent the virus from spreading, according to Doll.

York County Prison in Springettsbury Township, Thursday, June 29, 2017.

An inmate who was brought to the facility Monday had already tested positive before being admitted, and prison officials had been alerted to that ahead of time, Doll said.

Both inmates with positive tests are being quarantined from other inmates, as are the three who are suspected of having the virus, according to the warden. That includes the COVID-19 patients being isolated in negative-pressure rooms, he said.

Every inmate brought to the prison is routinely quarantined for 14 to 21 days, is screened for flu-like symptoms and is tested for the virus, he said.

"I think that's helped" in keeping down numbers of infected inmates, Doll said, as has a policy initiated early on in the pandemic that requires prison employees and contractors to wear masks and protective glasses, and requires inmates to wear masks.

"We have good protocols in place," he said. "And I'll take a bit of luck when I can get it."

The positive case from last week and the infected inmate brought in Monday are the first two confirmed cases since the prison announced in April that an immigration detainee had tested positive for the coronavirus, Doll said.

York County Prison Warden Clair Doll speaks following a prison board meeting at York County Prison in Springettsbury Township, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"My expectation is that we might see more cases," the warden said, despite mitigation efforts.

"One of our struggles is ... getting test results back," Doll said. "It's taking seven to 14 days or even more. But everyone's facing that issue."

York County Commissioner Doug Hoke said prison officials work with PrimeCare Medical — which is the prison's contracted medical employer — as well as the state departments of health and corrections to keep the prison population as safe as possible.

"I can assure the public and families of inmates that we are taking all the precautions necessary ... to make sure all protocols are being followed correctly," Hoke said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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