Mimicking state trends, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is experiencing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, increasing the cumulative total to 103 across the state. In the past 24 hours, 87 inmates inside one housing unit at the Lexington Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19. ODOC has placed these inmates in isolation, all of whom reported no symptoms prior to testing. Earlier in the week, the Cleveland County Health Department tested 185 inmates quarantined together after two housed on this unit tested positive during hospital visits. Six tests are pending.
ODOC staff is working with the Cleveland County Health Department to perform contact tracing on the first two inmates. That investigation will expand to the additional 87 positives. As a precaution, ODOC is requesting the health department test the remaining inmates at the adjoining Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.
Since mid-March ODOC staff has strictly followed all guidelines offered by the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and Oklahoma State Health Department. The department has gone to great lengths to combat the pandemic, including screening all staff members before every shift; providing masks to all inmates, staff, and visitors; deploying inmate clean teams; limiting transfers and movement of inmates; and ensuring all inmates have access to proper sanitation and hygiene products. Recently, ODOC deployed a battery of disinfecting foggers. Within minutes, these portable machines emit a fine mist of disinfectant across every surface inside a room.
Continually adjusting operations based on current data, ODOC is canceling visitation at all state facilities this weekend. Next weekend, structured visitation will resume on a bi-weekly basis for immediate family members. Visitors must follow all CDC guidelines including wearing masks, maintaining social distance, symptoms screening, and scheduling visits.