Washington prisons close to visitors through Feburary at the earliest due to Omicron outbreaks

Coyote Ridge Corrections Center: Connell, Washington
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, Connell

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Families of the incarcerated must wait until next month at the earliest to see their loved ones. Washington prisons have suspended visitation as the Department of Corrections (DOC) tracks Omicron outbreaks across their facilities.

In a COVID-19 Bulletin published on January 12, the Washington DOC announced that it is temporarily suspending all prison visitation through February 3. That’s not a definite re-opening date either—DOC officials will reevaluate the situation on that date and decide how to proceed.

This decision was not made lightly, and was made to continue protecting the health and safety of staff, those in our care and custody, and the public.

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Additional spaces inside of Washington prison facilities are being used as quarantine zones for patients who must be medically isolated. This will be the case for 18 prison facilities across the state where outbreaks of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have been detected.

To read an official statement from DOJ Depuy Secretary Sean Murphy, click here.

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Three Regional Care Facilities (RCFs) were opened at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center, and Washington Corrections Center for Women. Here, infected prisoners with particularly harsh cases will be able to quarantine and receive medical attention while recovering from the virus.

In the last 30 days, the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell has added 30 more COVID-19 cases, increasing its pandemic count to 486 infections. It has been classified as having a “facility-wide outbreak” by the DOJ following guidance from the Washington Department of Health (DOH).

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