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PRESS RELEASE: Coyote Ridge Correctional Center releases preliminary test results lower than state weekly average

Released June 30, 2020

Contact Janelle Guthrie, (360) 764-9791

Department of Corrections

CONNELL – The Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CRCC) today released preliminary COVID-19 test results after testing more than 1,800 individuals incarcerated in its Medium Security Complex and 660 staff working across the entire facility from June 24-29, 2020.

As of June 29, four – or less than 1% – of the employees have tested positive and 60 – or roughly 3.3% – of the incarcerated population have tested positive during the June 24-29 testing period. The facility reported 1,547 incarcerated individuals with negative results.

In contrast, from June 17-23, 2020, in Franklin County, 884 people were tested and 327 tested positive. Across the state of Washington, during that same time period, 60,626 were tested and 2,965 tested positive for a percent positive rate of 4.9%. To help prevent ongoing transmission at the facility moving forward, the facility will repeat staff testing every seven days until further notice.

“The Department of Corrections (DOC) thanks our public health and safety partners for their assistance in helping us respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Corrections Secretary Stephen Sinclair. “I’m pleased to see that at this time, it appears our mitigation strategy has helped us manage the spread of this virus. We will use this information moving forward to inform our ongoing response.”

Coyote Ridge is working in partnership with the Benton-Franklin Health District, Washington State Department of Health and the Washington National Guard to provide assistance in the testing of the Coyote Ridge employees and incarcerated individuals, similar to the testing efforts in surrounding communities.

“DOC staff and leadership have done a thoughtful and thorough job of providing testing, isolation and quarantine at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center to protect both staff and inmates within the facility,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases with the state Department of Health. “It has been a pleasure to partner with Department of Corrections in these efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 within Washington State.”

“Initial results indicate that Coyote Ridge staff did an exemplary job of isolation and quarantine to reduce the spread throughout the facility,” said Heather Hill, Registered Nurse, Communicable Disease Program Manager with the Benton-Franklin Health District.

“Our guardsmen are very grateful to be able to use their military training and specialties to assist the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center and the community in the state response," said Lt. Andrew Phommavongsay of the National Guard.