Mass testing finds 184 coronavirus cases at Waupun Correction so far

A Florida Panhandle prison now has 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19. (MGN)
A Florida Panhandle prison now has 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: May. 29, 2020 at 3:29 PM CDT
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The Wisconsin Department of Corrections says mass coronavirus testing of inmates and staff at Waupun Correctional Institution identified 184 positive cases Friday.

Testing at the prison was completed this week on 1,181 people in the prison's care and the prison staff numbering about 400.

Half of the tests on inmates have come back, which would be about 590.

The DOC says the majority of them were asymptomatic.

"While the increase in testing may increase the number of confirmed positive cases within our agency, just as it does in the community, it now enables us to identify those asymptomatic carriers and properly isolate those individuals, which is crucial to reducing spread," a statement from the DOC read.

The numbers are incomplete but suggest 12% to 20% of people in the Waupun prison were infected with the coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19.

For comparison, the state peaked at 16.47% of tests coming back positive in mid-March, when it was averaging about 1,500 tests a day -- similar to the number of tests at Waupun.

Waupun Correctional will separate the inmates who tested positive from the rest of the prison population, and they'll be monitored by health care workers.

The DOC says it's conducting mass testing throughout the state prisons with the help of the National Guard.

So far it's tested 7,050 people in the prisons' care and has results back on 1,585. 247 inmates were positive, including cases identified at Waupun.

Thirty-two of those 247 inmates are considered recovered.

System-wide, the DOC says 52 people -- inmates and staff -- are in isolation because they're showing symptoms and 872 are quarantined, with restricted movements, due to possible exposure to the coronavirus.

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