Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
COVID-19 spike at Westville prison; 87 inmates test positive
topical urgent

COVID-19 spike at Westville prison; 87 inmates test positive

Westville Correctional Facility stock

Westville Correctional Facility's entrance on U.S. 421 in Westville.

The number of state prison inmates testing positive for COVID-19 jumped by nearly 300% over the past two days as a result of known cases skyrocketing from seven to 87 at the nearby Westville Correctional Facility, according to the Indiana Department of Correction.

The Westville facility accounted Thursday afternoon for 75% of the 116 inmates statewide who have tested positive the coronavirus, IDOC reported.

It also remained the only correctional facility in the state to have reported a COVID-19-related death.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box said Thursday during the governor's COVID-19 daily update that there continues to be an increase in coronavirus cases in jails and correctional facilities across the state.

"Like any congregate living situation, our correctional facilities are ripe for rapid transmission of COVID-19," she said.

State inmates who test positive or exhibit symptoms of the virus are being isolated and strike teams are testing in two other correctional facilities, she said.

Box reminded correctional staff to take precautions, including wearing masks and practicing good hand hygiene.

IDOC reported 58 staff members had tested positive as of Thursday, up from 53 two days earlier.

"We have to do absolutely everything possible to limit the spread of this infection to our most vulnerable populations," she said.

IDOC Commissioner Rob Carter said there are many inmates from a single dorm at Westville, who have tested positive.

"We've had to change the way we do business," he said.

The correctional facilities now have inmates moving in cohorts during meal times and are staggering meals, Carter said.

"We're doing the best we can as far as that goes," he said.

The department has also been working on making its own personal protective equipment for weeks and has equipped each facility, Carter said.

Box said inmates testing positive for coronavirus are receiving appropriate medical care and the state has brought area hospitals and emergency medical services up to date on the situation at Westville.

It was reported earlier this week that a male inmate at Westville, who was over the age of 70, died at the hospital after reporting chest pains and difficulty in breathing.

"While at the hospital, the offender tested positive for COVID-19," the department said.

Major deadlines for Hoosiers to know amid coronavirus changes

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News

Crime

Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts