OKLAHOMA CITY — More than half of the inmates at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft have tested positive for COVID-19.
Some 504 offenders have tested positive, according to the agency’s website.
The facility can house about 900 offenders.
The agency declared the minimum-security prison for women a COVID-19 “hot spot” on Friday after 47 inmates tested positive.
In addition, 15 staff members have reported positive tests, according to the agency’s website.
To combat further spread, the facility is providing additional personal protective equipment to staff, canceling visitation, closing volunteer access and moving work stations within the facility.
No offenders or staff members have died, said Justin Wolf, Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman.
The facility’s dorm-style housing “increases the challenges of preventing the spread,” he said.
Individuals who test positive are isolated and put in quarantine, Wolf said. Other inmates who are identified through contact tracing for those who have tested positive also are quarantined, he added.
Wolf said the agency is consulting with the Oklahoma State Department of Health about how best to handle the outbreak, and the prison’s gym is being used for isolation, Wolf said.
Rumors have been swirling about conditions in the gym, but all offenders are still being provided core services, such as meals, access to showers, access to restrooms and access to phones, he said.
“There is proper ventilation in the gym,” Wolf added. “They have large fans. They have ice and water available to maintain a healthy temperature. We have staff in there all the time.”
Other Department of Corrections facilities reporting high numbers of positive cases are the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, a women's prison in McLoud, with 178 cases, and the Joseph Harp Correctional Center, a men's prison in Lexington, with 136 cases, according to the agency’s website.