Dauphin County Prison conducts facility-wide COVID-19 testing and reports total of 13 positive cases among inmates and employees

HARRISBURG, PA (May 7, 2020) – Dauphin County Prison officials proactively conducted facility-wide COVID-19 testing on May 6 and 7 to determine if inmates and employees with few, if any, symptoms were carrying the virus to prevent further spread. According to health officials, some people can carry the virus without showing symptoms. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, the prison has tested several symptomatic inmates for the virus - all results returning negative.  

A total of 1,098 individuals samples were taken over the past two days, including 338 county staff and contracted employees as well as 760 inmates. Employees who were on vacation during mass testing will be checked upon their return. 

Initial results from Primecare Medical, which performed the testing, became available this eveningand confirmed that a total of five county or contracted employees and eight inmates were positive for COVID-19 and 713 were negative. The 13 individuals who tested positive were asymptomatic at this time. Remaining test results are expected in the next 48 hours. 

Inmates who tested positive were immediately placed in an isolation unit. Anyone who had contact with them were placed in quarantine units for close monitoring.

Staff members who tested positive were immediately sent home to quarantine for 14 days.

To protect staff and inmates, Dauphin County Prison began implementing its pandemic plan in March, taking temperatures of anyone who entered the facility, suspending in-person visitation and offering free video visitation, providing personal protective equipment to staff and inmates, and stepping up cleaning procedures in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations.

Additionally, inmate transfers to and from the prison have been suspended until further notice. The transfer suspension began on April 11 in response to the pandemic.

Dauphin County Prison will continue to provide updates to the community as the test results become available.