Follow-up testing on two inmates at Montana Women’s Prison who were presumed positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, has revealed negative results.

Because of the conflicting test results, the Montana Department of Corrections is working with RiverStone Health and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to conduct additional investigation into those cases. 

“We are continuing to take an abundance of caution related to this situation at the prison,” said DOC Director Reginald D. Michael Friday. “Protecting the health and safety of our staff, inmates and the public is the department’s top priority, and we are following the plan we developed for this circumstance.”

The presumed positive results were discovered as part of sentinel testing efforts being conducted at all DOC facilities. 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 proactive testing of all 194 inmates at the facility and 69 staff members. Notifications related to that testing were being made Friday.

To date, as part of its sentinel testing efforts, the department has tested 616 inmates among all of its facilities and 102 staff members.

The department tracks all results of its COVID-19 testing as they are received on its website — https://cor.mt.gov/COVID-19.

The previous article read as follows:

Two inmates at Montana Women’s Prison tested presumed positive for COVID-19 Tuesday. Samples from the inmates were transported to the state lab Wednesday for confirmatory testing, and those results are pending.

Testing of the inmates took place as part of the Montana Department of Corrections’ ongoing “sentinel” testing of staff and inmates occurring at all Montana Department of Corrections facilities throughout 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. “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 proactive 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, and prison clinical staff and representatives of RiverStone Health are conducting contact tracing associated with all presumptive positive cases.

To date, as part of its sentinel testing efforts, the department has tested 616 inmates among all of its facilities and 102 staff members. Tuesday marked the only presumptive positive results the department has received. 

The department tracks all results of its COVID-19 testing as they are received on its website at https://cor.mt.gov/COVID-19.

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