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Outbreak continues at prison In Forest County

In the midst of an outbreak at State Correctional Institution – Forest, Forest County easily has the highest COVID-19 rate in the state.

The county’s rate is 17,179.5 cases per 100,000 population, according to statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. That is almost twice as high as the rate in the county that is second highest. Mifflin County had 8,821.4 cases per 100,000 as of Thursday.

By comparison, Warren County’s rate is 4,863.4.

There have been 1,245 cases and 10 COVID-related deaths in Forest County. Over 1,000 of those cases are associated with the prison.

“SCI Forest has been following all of the statewide mitigation efforts, to include placing inmates in cohorts since March of 2020, issuing masks/PPE to all staff and inmates, strict sanitizing and cleaning schedules, encouraging social-distancing, and washing of hands frequently,” according to a Department of Corrections Press Secretary Maria Bivens.

Two weeks ago, an inmate showed symptoms and tested positive.

All 178 inmates that were grouped together in that cohort were tested with 138 positive results.

On Jan. 14, the facility was moving forward with testing of all inmates.

“Their plan moving forward is to PCR/mass test the entire facility,” Bivens said. “They are going to separate the positive cases from the negative cases, identify symptomatic inmates needing a higher level of care, protect the vulnerable inmate population, and move towards a healthy and safe operational schedule.”

The testing revealed hundreds more cases.

As of Thursday, there were 881 total positive cases, with 826 of those active. Of the active cases, 792 inmates were asymptomatic. There have been three COVID-related deaths among inmates and another 52 have recovered.

The staff is recovering from the virus. Among the staff, 104 have recovered out of the 129 total cases, leaving 25 active cases.

Warren County update

There were 17 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths reported in Warren County on Thursday.

According to the department of health, there have been 1,906 cases in the county and 75 deaths.

Of the total, 1,576 are confirmed and 330 are probables.

The statistics for Warren General Hospital did not change from Wednesday – 30 COVID-positive patients, none on ventilators, and none in intensive care.

One in every 21 people in Warren County has or has had the virus – the department’s statistics indicate 4,863.4 infections per 100,000 population.

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