Michael Letour / CC BY-SA/ creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0
Northwest State Correctional Facility
Seven more prisoners at Northwest State Correctional Facility have tested positive for the new coronavirus, a setback following weeks of cautious optimism that the outbreak had not spread.
These are the first new cases identified since the initial prison-wide round of testing was conducted on April 8. Forty-five inmates and 17 employees have now tested positive since the outbreak was detected nearly a month ago.
The new cases were acknowledged on Friday, even as officials said 16 of the other infected prisoners have recovered from weeks of medical isolation at a quarantine prison in St. Johnsbury. Three other COVID-19-positive inmates have been released.
"The inmates who tested positive were already in a quarantined unit thanks to the hard work of our contact-tracing team working with the Vermont Department of Health, who determined they may have interacted with a positive inmate from our first round of testing,” Department of Corrections interim Commissioner Jim Baker said in a press release.
Last week, Department of Corrections officials expressed hope that their quick action to isolate and transfer infected residents had contained the outbreak. The COVID-19 virus is believed to have an incubation period of 14 days, and no remaining inmates at Northwest had shown symptoms for at least that long.