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Large Outbreak Of COVID-19 At Bethel Jail

Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center
Aleina Tanabe

Updated Dec. 5, 2020 12:57 p.m. to reflect the latest COVID-19 cases at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center.

There is a large outbreak of COVID-19 at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center in Bethel. As of Dec. 4, there are 46 inmates with active cases of COVID-19 at the Bethel jail. Since the pandemic began, a total of 74 inmates and nine staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Alaska Department of Corrections Spokesperson Sarah Gallagher said that inmates that test positive for COVID-19 have been placed in a separate cohort together. She said this is due to a limited number of individual cells. They are monitored daily for symptoms, and are receiving medical care when necessary.

Gallagher said that the remaining inmates in affected parts of the facility are being tested every three days. She said that this testing schedule would continue until no new positive cases were identified for 14 days.

Staff are advised to get tested if they are a close contact of an individual that has tested positive for COVID-19. Gallagher said that the staff members are required to either receive a negative test result or quarantine for 14 days before returning to work. Employees also have their temperatures checked before every shift.

There are currently 207 inmates at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center. The maximum capacity of the jail is 232 inmates.

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