PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Two inmates who were evacuated by bus among other inmates from the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution last week to the Deer Ridge Correctional Facility in Madras tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, officials said.
The woman and man were tested on Sept. 5 and 6 but there was a delay in obtaining the results from a lab, according to Jennifer Black, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.
The positive COVID-19 results of two inmates during the emergency transports because of wildfire emergencies and smoke are what lawyers and family members for inmates’ feared would happen in what they’ve criticized as a haphazard evacuation, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Once the positive results came back, the two were immediately isolated and taken back to Coffee Creek, according to the department.
The department also is accelerating the return of all the transferred Coffee Creek inmates back to their prison, Black said.
The corrections department is using its own vehicles for the transportation. It will provide personal protective equipment for all inmates and transport staff, and, unlike the initial evacuation, will ensure inmates are given bathroom breaks and meals during the return trip, Black said.
The man with COVID-19 was tested at the 10-day mark of a 14-day observation period. The woman was tested in light of her anticipated prison release. Neither displayed symptoms at the time, according to Black.
The corrections department will work with local public health authorities and the Oregon Health Authority concerning testing and contact tracing of inmates upon their return to Coffee Creek and will conduct symptom checks, screening and quarantining of all Coffee Creek inmates, Black said.