The Department of Corrections employs multiple COVID-19 testing strategies:
- mass testing
- sample testing
- wastewater testing
In early March, the Department of Corrections began COVID-19 testing of offenders who exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 or may had contact with an infected person, following Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines. Offenders are quarantined pending test results. This testing continues at all facilities.
Testing of all offenders on intake, when first entering the prison system, and pre-release, one week before leaving the prison system, began June 1. This testing continues at all facilities.
Testing all offenders and staff in a housing unit or other contained area, known as boxed-in testing, is conducted any time an outbreak is suspected. This testing continues at all facilities.
Mass testing, or sentinel testing, of all offenders and staff at all facilities — regardless of symptoms or the presence of known cases — began May 26 and was completed Aug. 13. This type of testing has revealed asymptomatic positives, as reflected in the data.
Sample testing, or surveillance testing of a random 10% of the population of each facility, began Aug. 10 and will continue at facilities throughout the state.
Wastewater testing, which entails sampling and analyzing facility wastewater for the presence of the virus, helps us to anticipate and contain a potential outbreak.
- Offenders who test positive for COVID-19 are isolated until they test negative.
- Staff who test positive are sent home on leave and must test negative before returning to work.
- All staff who have close contact with a positive are sent home for two weeks of quarantine.
Missouri Data in Context
Compared to all other state departments of corrections in the United States, Missouri ranks at the top for COVID testing rates (more offenders tested per capita) and below the national average for infection rates, according to data from the COVID Prison Project. Missouri's prison COVID infection rate is lower than that of bordering states, and the positivity rate inside Missouri prisons remains lower than the positivity rate for the state's population as a whole.
Many state prison systems with lower infection rates also have lower testing rates. Missouri's implementation of mass testing has helped state prisons to identify and isolate asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, thereby containing the spread of the virus.
Having completed mass COVID-19 testing at all facilities, the department currently is conducting surveillance testing of staff and offenders at all facilities, which has led to the discovery of additional asymptomatic positives. These new findings are reflected in the data. All other types of testing also continue.
TOTAL COVID-19 CASES IN STATE ADULT INSTITUTIONS
since March 2020
Mass testing of offenders and staff has been completed at all Missouri Department of Corrections facilities. Additional surveillance sentinel testing, or sample testing, is underway.
- Active Inmate Cases: 738
- Active Prison Staff Cases: 215
- Offenders: 1
- Staff: 0
Non-Prison Staff Cumulative Cases: 66
- Active Cases: 15
- Recovered: 51
All protocols are followed to minimize exposure. When a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the results are shared with people in the affected locations first, and then all staff are notified.
For more information on Missouri Department of Corrections COVID-19-related health and safety measures, please visit https://doc.mo.gov/media-center/newsroom/covid-19.