HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut prison officials said Monday that a new round of coronavirus testing of more than 8,600 inmates found that just under 1% of them were positive, a significantly lower rate than in previous testing.
Officials said 80 inmates tested positive during a third round of mass testing that ran from Oct. 6 to Nov. 13. There currently are 44 prisoners who are positive for the virus, and none of them is showing symptoms.
The first round of testing from May to June found that 9% of inmates, or 832, were infected. The positivity rate dipped to 3% in the second round of testing from July to September, when 241 prisoners tested positive.
Since the pandemic began, nearly 1,750 inmates have tested positive for the virus and eight have died. Prison officials said 126 employees are currently recovering from COVID-19. Just under 9,300 people are being detained in 14 state correctional facilities.
“The decrease in the number of inmates who have tested positive for the presence of the novel coronavirus can be attributed to the Department of Correction’s staff members adhering to protocols designed to mitigate the spread of the virus, including the thorough cleaning of facilities, as well as the wearing of masks by both correctional staff and offender population,” the department said in a statement.
In other coronavirus news in Connecticut:
COURTNEY TESTS POSITIVE
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut has tested positive for the coronavirus and is isolating at home, he announced.
Courtney said Sunday that he learned last week he had been exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.
“Upon learning of that initial exposure, I immediately began following the strict isolation guidelines laid out by the CDC and by my doctor while I waited to get a coronavirus test,” the Democrat said in a statement.
The first test was negative, but the 67-year-old Courtney began to experience mild symptoms and got a second test, which came back positive, he said.
Courtney, who represents Connecticut’s 2nd District, said he would continue to carry out his duties while in isolation at home.
Courtney is the second member of the state’s five-member House delegation to contract COVID-19. Democrat Jahana Hayes tested positive for the virus in September.