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Oregon Prison Inmates With COVID-19 Admitted To Hospital

Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville is Oregon's only women's prison.
Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville is Oregon's only women's prison.

Three Oregon prison inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.

"I can confirm we have AICs in the hospital who have tested positive for COVID," DOC spokeswoman Jennifer Black said in a statement Wednesday, using an acronym for adults in custody. "However, because of patient privacy concerns, we cannot comment further."

DOC has set up medical isolation units for patients with COVID-19 at the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution and the Snake River Correctional Institution, where there's 24/7 nursing care.

Black declined to say when the hospitalizations began and to identify the prison where the inmates were living.

"For safety and security reasons, we will not confirm the location of any hospital where an AIC is being treated," Black said.

So far, no inmates have died from COVID-19. But the number of cases in the state's prisons have increased exponentially, to 143 inmate cases as of Wednesday afternoon and 38 staff.

Most of the people who have contracted the disease are at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, which reported 110 inmates tested positive for the coronavirus. On Friday, the prison was reporting just 80 positive cases of COVID-19.

Cases at other prisons have remained steady during for the last several days, and in some cases, several weeks.

They include Shutter Creek Correctional Institution near Coos Bay, the Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem and the Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla.

More than 500 inmates have been tested for COVID-19. The agency said there are 21 pending tests.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.