BILLINGS — Two inmates at Montana Women’s Prison tested presumed positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the Montana Department of Corrections said in a press release issued Thursday.
Samples from the inmates were transported to the state lab Wednesday to confirm the testing. Those results are pending.
Testing of the inmates was part of the Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) ongoing “sentinel” testing of staff and inmates occurring at all agency facilities across the state.
“The department had a plan in place in case we had positive results in any of our facilities,” said DOC Director Reginald D. Michael said in the press release. “We are following that plan and will work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our inmate population, our staff, and the public.”
Sentinel testing is for individuals who do not demonstrate active symptoms associated with COVID-19 and is intended to help guide response efforts related to the threat of the virus. Once the presumed positive results were returned, the DOC performed testing of all 194 inmates at the facility and 48 staff members. Results are pending on those tests.
Quarantine and isolation procedures were implemented at the prison immediately, the press release states and prison clinical staff and representatives of RiverStone Health are conducting contact tracing associated with the presumptive positive cases.
The department has tested 616 inmates among all of its facilities and 102 staff members to date. Tuesday marked the only presumptive positive results the department has received.