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Nearly 30% of Idahoans in Arizona prison positive for virus
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Nearly 30% of Idahoans in Arizona prison positive for virus

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Prison fence, jail

BOISE — All of the Idaho prison inmates transferred to a private prison in Arizona have been tested for the coronavirus, and nearly 30% of the men have tested positive.

In the latest update from Idaho Department of Correction administrators, Deputy Director Bree Derrick wrote that 438 men in IDOC custody are being housed at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona.

IDOC’s coronavirus testing numbers, however, show that 439 Idaho inmates had been tested at Saguaro as of Friday, with four testing positive and showing symptoms, and 124 testing positive while not showing symptoms. The remaining 311 people tested negative.

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For the past several weeks IDOC has been moving men from a prison in Eagle Pass, Texas, to Saguaro or to prisons in Idaho. The department’s contract with the Eagle Pass prison ends Wednesday, Sept. 30. As of Friday, only one person from Idaho was still in Eagle Pass, because he was not medically cleared for travel, according to Derrick’s Friday update.

IDOC had moved roughly 170 men from Eagle Pass to Idaho prisons as of Friday. This group was moved to Idaho instead of Saguaro “primarily due to impending parole hearings or full term release dates,” Derrick wrote.

As of Friday, there were 42 people in Idaho prisons who tested positive while showing COVID-19 symptoms, and 306 who tested positive while not showing symptoms. IDOC also said 1,268 people in Idaho prisons who tested positive for the virus have been medically cleared. Over 9,150 tests have been administered for people in Idaho prisons.

Last week, IDOC tested everyone who lives and works in the North Idaho Correctional Institution and found 88 inmates and three staff members were positive.

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