Late Friday, a second Washington Department of Corrections employee reported that they had tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee, who works on the third floor of the department’s headquarters in Tumwater, was last in the office on March 11 and will be at home until they recover.
“When the employee first reported symptoms, Corrections identified employees considered to be in close contact with the employee and notified them,” the department wrote in a press release. “Anyone confirmed to have been in close contact was asked to self-quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms until the suggested 14-day quarantine period ends.”
As of Sunday morning, the Department of Corrections had no reported cases of incarcerated individuals or people on supervision with COVID-19.
“Corrections continues to be vigilant in efforts to protect our staff, those we serve and our communities,” said Department of Corrections Secretary Steve Sinclair. “Effective immediately, all offices and facilities within the department, including prisons, work release and field offices, will be implementing enhanced screening protocols to the degree possible with available onsite equipment.”
Sinclair said the department is closely monitoring the health of its employees and those in its care.
According to the press release, the department has been preparing for the possibility that employees, incarcerated individuals or individuals under supervision might test positive for COVID-19 or need to self-quarantine since the COVID-19 response began.
The department’s health services team has developed a specific protocol for COVID-19 screening, testing and infection control that they are updating regularly and have been distributing to health services staff and facility superintendents since March 5.
The department is encouraging all eligible employees to work remotely.
The first case of COVID-19 for the department was an employee with the Monroe Correctional Complex-Washington State Reformatory who tested positive last week.
Effective March 13, all visits were suspended at Department of Corrections facilities.