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Inmate at prison south of Boise tests positive for COVID-19

The Idaho State Correctional Center has been placed on "secure status," restricting movement into, out of, and within the prison.
Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Litchfield, File
FILE - This June 15, 2010, file photo, shows the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise, Idaho. In a lawsuit filed Monday, May 4, 2020, in U.S. District Court in Boise, the inmates say lawmakers have failed to adequately fund the Idaho Department of Correction despite a growing inmate population. (AP Photo/Charlie Litchfield, File)

BOISE, Idaho — A prison south of Boise has been locked down after an inmate there tested positive for COVID-19, the director of the Idaho Department of Correction said.

This is the first known case of coronavirus in an inmate at an Idaho prison.

According to Director Josh Tewalt, Idaho State Correctional Center officials were notified of the positive test result early Wednesday afternoon.

The person who tested positive became symptomatic on Tuesday and has been in isolation since reporting the symptoms to medical staff.

Tewalt said the prison has been elevated to Level 3 of its COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan and placed on full secure status, which means all movement into, out of, and within the facility is restricted while officials work to determine what areas beyond the infected person's tier will need to be quarantined.

Staff who may have come into contact with the inmate are also being notified.

ISCC is a 2,170-bed men's prison south of Boise. It houses minimum-security, medium-security and close-custody inmates.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Brad Little released a statement expressing his confidence that prison officials will contain any possible outbreak at ISCC:

"On Wednesday afternoon I was informed that an inmate at the Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC) tested positive for COVID-19. As one of the last states to have a confirmed coronavirus case in our inmate population, the Idaho Department of Correction has had several months to prepare for a positive case and take the necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood of spread. The health and safety of the inmates in the state's custody, as well as the state employees who work with them, is paramount. I am confident that the plan IDOC has in place will meet the health and safety needs of all at IDOC."

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