Two Montana Women’s Prison inmates who were presumed positive for COVID-19 last week have tested negative, the state lab confirmed Monday. However, a third inmate tested positive and will remain in quarantine.
“We were extremely pleased to receive the news today that the state lab confirms we do not have an outbreak of COVID-19 at Montana Women’s Prison and we can resume our pre-presumptive positive operations at MWP,” said Montana Department of Corrections Director Reginald D. Michael. “Of course, we will continue to exercise extreme caution to ensure the virus does not enter this or any of our other facilities.”
The inmate, who health officials have determined to be positive for COVID-19, has been in quarantine at the prison, thus minimizing the risk of spread to other inmates. Once that inmate is tested and cleared, she will be allowed to join the general population at the facility.
The presumed positive results discovered last week were 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 discovered, the DOC performed proactive testing of all 194 inmates at the facility, ultimately identifying the single positive case.
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.