Arizona corrections system plans 2nd round of inmate testing

Prison Jail

Arizona’s state prison system is planning on a second round of COVID-19 testing for the system’s nearly 38,000 inmates while making available rapid virus tests for employees.

The additional testing of inmates will begin in January in collaboration with the state Department of Health Services and the rapid testing for staff will be made available as needed, the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry said Monday.

Testing inmates allows inmates without COVID-19 symptoms to be isolated and grouped as needed to reduce virus spread in prison facilities, the agency said in a statement.

“The health of our inmates and staff is a top priority and we continue to take proactive steps to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Director David Shinn said.

According the department’s COVID-19 dashboard, 42,749 inmates have been tested since March and 6,411 of those were found to be infected. A total of 26 inmates who died were either confirmed or preliminarily believed to have had COVID-19.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.