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Prison facility quarantined over swine-flu fears

Prison facility quarantined over swine-flu fears

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DRAPER -- A 50-bed dormitory at the medium-security Promontory facility has been placed under quarantine because of swine-flu fears.

Three male inmates at the facility have been tested for the H1N1 virus.

"To prevent any spread of this throughout the rest of that unit and the facility, we've quarantined them," said state corrections spokeswoman Angie Welling.

Another three inmates in another prison facility are also reporting similar flu-like symptoms. Another inmate at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison has been placed in isolation after having flu-like symptoms.

Test results on the inmates will not be available for several more days, Welling said.

Corrections officials are now taking precautions. In a high-density housing situation like a prison, the potential for any virus to spread quickly is high. At the Promontory facility, visitation has been halted entirely.

"All officers who come into contact with offenders suspected to have H1N1 wear masks at all times, and those offenders will do so as well," Welling told KSL NewsRadio.

At other prison facilities, any visitors who exhibit flu-like symptoms will not be allowed in.

The prison's medical staff became aware of the potential illnesses on Wednesday, when inmates reported sore throats, fevers and coughing.

The Promontory facility is a 400-bed unit at the Draper prison. Although no case has been confirmed, Welling said corrections staff are bracing for the potential of a widespread outbreak. Beyond masks, staffers who feel ill are told to stay home.

The prison has also stocked up on Tamiflu.


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Ben Winslow


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