As of Friday afternoon, 71 inmates at Miami Correctional Facility had tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 100 had been moved into isolation after a week of steadily climbing numbers.

The largest jump came Wednesday when officials added 45 known COVID-19 cases to the inmate total at the local prison.

Numbers released that day by the Indiana Department of Correction show that a total of 60 inmates had tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The total number climbed from the 15 cases reported on Tuesday which was the first round of numbers released following disclosure of a problem at the prison on Friday before the Labor Day weekend.

That is when Dr. Kristen Dauss, Chief Medical Officer for the DOC, told the Tribune that officials had become aware of an outbreak and were sending a state team in to do additional testing.

At the time, she said she was aware of two staff members who had tested positive for the virus in recent days and roughly five inmates. She said she believed that those sick were contained to a single unit.

On Friday, the number of positive staff members sat at 10, up from eight on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, data available on the state DOC website shows that 238 inmates were in quarantine, with one in “isolation.”

The website defines quarantine as separating and restricting “the movement of people who were exposed, or potentially exposed, to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.”

“Isolation separates sick people who may have a contagious disease from those who are not sick,” the website says.

On Friday, the number in isolation rose to 125 with 110 inmates listed as being in quarantine.

Dauss said during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Wednesday news briefing that a state “strike team” sent to the prison in response to the outbreak had been prepared to administer up to 200 tests, though some inmates had refused.

Numbers from the prison outbreak appear to now be filtering into the county totals provided by the Indiana State Department of Health.

The Miami County count of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped from 355 on Tuesday to 399 on Wednesday, the same number of cases added from the local prison.

Though numbers had recently been rising more quickly in the county than in weeks past, it was unclear if the recent acceleration in county cases was due entirely to the prison outbreak or if there was spread in the community as well.

Miami County Health Officer Dr. Christi Redmon said Wednesday that while numbers reported late last week included community numbers, the large jump reported by the state on Wednesday was reflective of the prison outbreak.

But that, she said on Tuesday as numbers rose at the prison, does not mean that county residents need not worry, assuming that the virus is contained behind the prison walls.

“It’s in our county,” she said.

Not only can it get out through staff and others who have contact with the facility, Redmon said, it is the responsibility of those living in the area to help mitigate the spread of the virus to help keep it out of closed facilities like the jail, prison and area nursing homes.

“We have a responsibility to protect the prison,” she said. “We have a responsibility to protect the long term care facilities.”
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