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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Two Montana Department Of Corrections Inmates Die From COVID-19

Montana Department of Corrections
Montana Department of Corrections

The Montana Department of Corrections confirmed Friday two inmates in state custody died due to COVID-19 last month. The announcement came nearly two weeks after the first inmate’s death.

According to the DOC one inmate died at the Montana State Prison on Oct. 24. A second inmate died at Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls on Oct. 31 after being transported from Crossroads Correctional Facility in Shelby. The deaths come after 14 percent of the inmates at the state prison in Deer Lodge and 40 percent of inmates at the private Crossroads facility tested positive for coronavirus last month.

Both deaths have been added to the DOC’s COVID-19 testing information website.

DOC Spokesperson Carolynn Bright says three inmates from Montana State Prison and two from Montana Women’s Prison are hospitalized due to the virus as of Friday.

Ryan Gustin, spokesperson for CoreCivic, which manages Crossroads, says the facility conducted a round of testing Nov. 2 and is waiting on results. The tests were focused on inmates who had tested negative or hadn’t been tested previously. The last round of tests were conducted in early October.

According to Gustin, all previous cases of COVID-19 among inmates at the Crossroads facility have recovered. Two staff members are recovering from the virus at home. Fifty-two staff at the facility have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

According to the DOC, a total of 641 inmates and 148 staff members at DOC facilities have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio

Jess Sheldahl is a reporter for Yellowstone Public Radio and the host of Morning Edition as well as YPR's daily news podcast, The Worm.
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