COVID-19 outbreak at Oklahoma prison infects more than 700 inmates

VIDEO: Coronavirus outbreak at Muskogee County business

TAFT, Okla. — The coronavirus outbreak at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center continues to worsen after more than 700 inmates were reportedly diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Thursday.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, 721 inmates were reported to have tested positive in Thursday’s report.

FOX23 spoke with an employee of the facility who says the outbreak happened after new inmates were transferred from Kate Barnard Community Correctional Facility.

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The DOC says those inmates were screened for symptoms but not tested for COVID-19.

The DOC says the outbreak started before those inmates were transferred, but did not provide dates on when the inmates were brought in or when current inmates were tested.

The Eddie Warrior Correctional Center is an open dorm-style layout, with many bunk beds in one large shared space, instead of small cells for small groups of inmates.

The employee says they are short-staffed and have to take on new job responsibilities to keep the facility running, which pulls them away from the work they need to be doing on a regular basis.

The DOC says they are not short-staffed and have adequate staff to run the facility safely.