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Billings Inmate With COVID-19 Not Immediately Isolated

A photo of Montana Women's Prison in Billings, taken on Janaury 9, 2008
Bradley Gordon
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Montana Women's Prison in Billings, Montana

A State of Montana spokesperson says she was wrong in telling the Billings Gazette last week that a female inmate who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had been isolated for the entire length of her illness.

Carolynn Bright with the Montana Department of Corrections says the situation had been miscommunicated to her last week.

She told YPR Monday that an asymptomatic inmate at the Montana Women’s Prison in Billings had interacted with other inmates for two days before staff isolated her.

“Our clinical services staff received information after a short period of time that the inmate may have been exposed to COVID, so at that point the inmate was immediately quarantined," Bright said.

She says when the inmate arrived in the latter part of April, the department was allowing prison transfers on a case by case basis and a 14 day quarantine was not required.

In recent weeks, cases of COVID-19 in prisons and jails have soared across the U.S.

Bright says the Montana Department of Corrections does not suspect community spread of the disease at the women’s prison and that this inmate is the only positive case her staff is aware of.