173 inmates from Coyote Ridge Corrections Center have tested positive for COVID-19

Coyote Ridge

CONNELL, Wash. — The Coyote Ridge Corrections Center has experienced the worst COVID-19 outbreak across the Washington State Department of Corrections system.

There have been 204 total confirmed cases among inmates within the state’s prison system; 173 of those people are incarcerated at Coyote Ridge in Connell. The DOC has reported two inmate deaths linked to COVID-19 and both of those men were housed at Coyote Ridge.

Inmates who need more comprehensive medical attention and physical isolation are transferred to regional care facilities that the DOC designated earlier in the pandemic.

Across the state’s prison system, 93 employees have tested positive, with 50 of those people being employed at Coyote Ridge.

In a memo sent to Coyote Ridge employees on Tuesday, Superintendent Jeffrey Uttecht noted a recent increase in testing among inmates and pointed to data showing that social distancing practices at the prison have been effective.

Between June 24-29, 660 staff members were tested and four received positive results. Additionally, 1,846 inmates were tested in that same time frame, with 60 testing positive, signifying 3.3 percent of those incarcerated at the prison had the virus.

Uttecht noted that the prison’s positive rate is lower than that of Franklin County. In the memo, Uttecht said 884 people from across the county were tested the week prior and 327 had positive results.

“The low numbers of positive cases of both staff and incarcerated individuals at CRCC are a good sign the strategies we have implemented are working,” Uttecht wrote in the memo.