Utah Department of Corrections has first case of COVID-19 in community correctional center

COVID-19 virus. Image: FDA

April 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Department of Corrections confirmed its first positive case of COVID-19 in a community correctional center Friday.

Neither the name of the offender nor their housing location will be made public, UDC said in a statement.

The offender, who is a man between ages 45 and 64, is in stable condition and has been isolated, according to the statement. He has not been in a state prison since late 2019.

Community Correctional Centers serve as halfway houses to help offenders who may not have a place to go when they leave prison, need additional treatment as they transition back into the community or are struggling and at risk of returning to jail or prison — but pose no direct public safety risk, the statement said.

“During this difficult time for the country, there are many people who put their lives on the line to keep people safe and keep people healthy,” said Mike Haddon, executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections. “Our staff are no different, and our team of dedicated professionals are working hard to keep those we supervise safe and healthy.”

UDC is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments to ensure that all containment steps are taken, the statement said. Such steps include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Isolating the infected offender who will receive frequent health checks
  • Coordinating with public health officials on quarantine procedures and contact tracing
  • Ensuring that proper cleaning and contact protocols are implemented

Community correctional centers do not have active medical care providers, but UDC staff are in contact with state and local health departments and UDC medical staff, and will continue to monitor the offender and recommend offsite care if needed.

Offenders housed within a community correctional center typically have regular access to the community, with limited security, and at this time—based on recommendations from state and local health departments—the facility will now be on quarantine for at least 14 days, the statement said.

“This is an ever-evolving situation,” said Dan Blanchard, Adult Probation and Parole director for UDC, “and while we are planning to place the center on quarantine at this time, we will continue to evaluate offenders on a case-by-case basis, consult with state and local health departments, and may consider recommending to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole for the early release of some offenders to an approved address in the future.”

Over the last couple months, the Department has taken stringent steps for prevention of COVID-19 and toward containment. For more information and updates, click here.


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