Wyoming Prisons See 5th COVID-19 Death and a New Outbreak
Based on an update by the Wyoming Department of Corrections, WDOC, there have now been five deaths among inmates due to COVID-19, up from four the previous week, along with an outbreak of cases at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins.
Since the beginning of November, the WDOC has been reporting only three inmate deaths due to COVID-19, however in their release on Nov. 18, that number increased to four, and two weeks later that number has again increased to five.
In total there have been nine inmate deaths reported by the WDOC, but only five of those are attributed to COVID-19.
Also of note is Wyoming State Penitentiary (WSP) in Rawlins, which reported 77 cases of COVID-19, 76 among inmates and one among staff, an increase from four cases the week prior.
Paul Martin, deputy administrator for the WDOC Transparency Division, said in an email that because of the outbreak at WSP they have curtailed movement in that facility for a couple weeks to help them control and prevent more spread.
Martin said that while they don't keep track of staff vaccination rates, 59% of inmates have had at least one dose of the vaccine, which is in spite of a fluctuating inmate population as prisoners are released and new ones enter the population.
The vaccination rate in Wyoming for people having at least one dose of the vaccine is 53.8%, the lowest in the country, while the on the national level it is 70.9%.
This is not the first outbreak that the WDOC has seen over the course of the pandemic, with the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington reporting 116 cases and the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton reporting 81 cases, both in October.
COVID-19 cases in Carbon County and Wyoming have been on the decline over the past month, going from a seven-day average high of 660 on Sept. 13, down to an average of 148 by Nov. 30, with cases in Carbon county having a similar trend.
Hospitalizations have also fallen, going from a high of 249 COVID-19 patients reported on Oct. 21, down to 122 by Dec. 2, with Carbon County having only a one COVID-19 patient at the Memorial Hospital of Carbon County.