A COVID-19 outbreak has infected 19 men at a work-release facility on Seattle’s First Hill.
The men who tested positive for the virus have been moved to Department of Health housing for people with COVID-19, Susan Biller, interim communications director for the state Department of Corrections, wrote in an email.
Bishop Lewis houses 49 men on work-release. The 30 people remaining are being quarantined in the building at 703 Eighth Ave.
Those still at Bishop Lewis will be tested again Tuesday, Biller wrote.
The outbreak was reported to Public Health – Seattle & King County on Oct. 16, which is investigating, said spokesperson Kate Cole.
As of Friday, 516 people incarcerated in Washington’s correction centers or living in work-release facilities have contracted the virus. The largest outbreak was at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Franklin County, where 233 were infected; two people died.
Gov. Jay Inslee granted the release of more than 1,100 inmates, most serving sentences for nonviolent or sex crimes and near the end of their sentences, in April after the state Supreme Court directed the governor and the Department of Corrections to take measures to protect inmates from SARS-CoV-2.
The Bishop Lewis outbreak is the largest at the state’s work-release facilities, which have had 44 positive cases in total. Progress House Work Release in Tacoma had an outbreak with 16 people infected, and Reynolds Work Release in downtown Seattle had a seven-person outbreak.
The plight of people in the state’s work-release program garnered attention in June when families of six men at the Reynolds Work Release facility in downtown Seattle protested the living conditions amid the pandemic.
Supporters claimed that the work-release status for the six men, dubbed “the Reynolds Six,” were revoked after family members demonstrated in reaction to a COVID-19 outbreak in the facility.
As of Monday, at least 152,955 people in the nation’s prisons have tested positive for the virus and 1,276 have died, according to the Marshall Project and The Associated Press.