DRAPER — The Utah Department of Corrections announced Friday afternoon that the Utah State Prison, located in Draper near Point of the Mountain, will enter a "code red" lockdown for 24 hours due to an apparent second outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility.
On Thursday night, two symptomatic inmates housed at the Oquirrh 5 facility tested negative for the virus. On Friday, another symptomatic inmate tested positive for COVID-19, after which staff immediately implemented containment protocols, executive director of the Department of Corrections Mike Haddon said.
Shortly after that, another symptomatic inmate at the Promontory facility tested positive for the virus.
The prison is collaborating closely with the state health department and the Unified Police Department, who are assisting in testing inmates. "We are deeply concerned with this latest outbreak," Haddon said in an update posted to Facebook.
So far, the new cases are concentrated in the Oquirrh 5 and Promontory facilities and none of the inmates has exhibited significant symptoms. Both of these facilities are dormitory-style, which could mean there's a higher risk for exposure, Haddon noted.
The Oquirrh 5 unit houses the most medically vulnerable inmates. Since March, this is where the greatest precautions have been taken.
The prison's news came just hours after the state reported a record-breaking number of new cases as officials continue to plead with the public to wear masks and limit gatherings.
As part of the lockdown and outbreak, inmates might not have access to phones but officials said "but please know that it's a priority that we make communication resources available as soon as we can do so safely."
Officials also assured family members that individuals in the prison were receiving standard care, including prescriptions and meals.
Prison staff is working to accommodate isolation and quarantines as necessary. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 312 individuals at the prison, have tested positive for the virus, with 303 considered recovered as of Friday.
"Those numbers are certainly likely to change now with this newest outbreak," Haddon said.