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MDOC: Marquette prison COVID-19 outbreak linked to staff, inmates not taking precautions

A chain-link fence and barbed wire
Max Pixel

There's a big outbreak of COVID-19 at the Marquette Branch Prison in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says it appears that both corrections officers and inmates were routinely failing to wear masks and take other precautions.

He says union officials with the corrections officers union initially claimed the coronavirus was brought into the prison by new inmates from the Chippewa Correctional Facility, transferred to Marquette after a riot, but Gautz says that's clearly not true.

"The Chippewa prisoners tested negative for more than fourteen days before any prisoner started testing positive," says Gautz. "And at that time there were already staff members who were testing positive."

So far, 158 prisoners and 38 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Marquette Branch Prison. 48 other staff members are quarantining because they were close contacts or have symptoms.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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