One hundred inmates and eight staff members at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport have tested positive for COVID-19, the largest outbreak at a Vermont correctional facility since the start of the pandemic, the commissioner for the Department of Corrections said.
“It’s all hands on deck for our response,” Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker said in a statement Tuesday.
Baker says the prison is being treated as though it were a hospital. Officials are coordinating with the department’s medical contractor, regional hospitals, the State Emergency Operations Center and the Vermont Department of Health to ensure the well-being of the staff and inmates.
The outbreak began after one staff member and 21 inmates tested positive for the virus on Feb. 23. The most recent cases were detected in testing conducted March 1.
The prison has been on full lockdown since the first positive result Feb. 25. All other state prisons are on modified lockdown.
As of Tuesday statewide, a total of 12 staff and 127 inmates have tested positive for the virus.
The Vermont Department of Health reported 115 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 on Wednesday across the state, bringing the total since the pandemic began to nearly 15,500.
There were 23 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including five in intensive care.
There was one additional death from COVID-19 reported, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 207.