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Coronavirus US: Over 500 Arizona prisoners test positive in day

More than 500 inmates at an Arizona state prison tested positive with coronavirus on Tuesday, according to local health officials. 

The 517 inmates who tested positive at the Arizona State Prison Complex Tucson Whetstone Unit make up nearly half up the unit’s 1,066 population.   

They’ve been housed together in separate areas and are receiving medical care, according to a statement released by the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry, AZ Central reports. 

The new cases are a 72 per cent jump in the department’s identified coronavirus cases.    

Previously, the department reported that there were 890 inmates statewide who had tested positive with coronavirus.

Those who tested positive at the Whetstone Unit will not be allowed to return to the general population until they are cleared, according to the statement.

The statement added that the inmates will receive meals and required medical attention. Inmates had  already been receiving fabric face coverings since July 2, according to the statement.

It also stated that staff have been provided face coverings since June 15, with staff in those areas with infected inmates receiving N-95 masks, gowns, gloves and face shields,

Dr. Cara Christ, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said in June that the state would test all inmates. A timeline was not offered on when those tests would occur.

As of Monday, the department said that 7,121 inmates – or roughly 18 per cent of the prison’s population – has been tested for COVID-19.

Six deaths have been confirmed by the department and some 2.27 per cent of those tested have been found to be positive. 

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