Inmates at Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton were confined to their cells Monday evening after a third staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
The Department of Corrections said all Northwest State staff and inmates will now be issued face masks and have their temperatures checked at the end of every work shift. Inmates will remain in their cells, with meals and medications being brought to them.
No inmates have tested positive for the virus, officials said.
The prison announced a “modified lockdown” shortly before 1:30 p.m. Monday after test results confirmed a second staff member had the virus. The staffer last worked March 26 and began to show symptoms two days later, within the 48- hour period when risk of transmission is thought to be greatest. After a first test came back negative, the staffer took a second test that confirmed the infection.
The third staff member who tested positive was last at work April 3. The full lockdown was ordered “in an effort to mitigate further exposure risks for both staff and inmates.”
Northwest State Correctional Facility has staff of 123 and an inmate population of 197.
The first case was reported by prison officials March 23. The Vermont Department of Corrections canceled in-person visitations at all six Vermont correctional facilities on March 13.
A staffer at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport has also tested postive for virus.