Oklahoma Prisons Take Non-Virus Infected Inmates From County

May 22, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is moving more than 140 healthy inmates from a county jail that reported it was ill-equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday.

Inmates at the Comanche County Detention Center who had two consecutive negative coronavirus tests are being moved to state facilities, the department said.

“Wednesday, ODOC transported 73 negative-testing male inmates,” department spokeswoman Jessica Brown said. “The agency anticipates transporting the remaining 69 healthy county jail inmates (Thursday), including one female.”

Those inmates have consecutively tested negative twice for the virus, Brown said.

“We’re just giving the county more room to quarantine or isolate inmates” and keep those who do not have the virus away from those who have tested positive, according to Brown.

County inmates who have tested positive for the virus will remain quarantined at the jail in Lawton, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City.

The male inmates were taken to a state facility in Sayre, about 85 miles (140 kilometers) away, while the woman was being taken to McLoud, abut 95 miles (150 kilometers) away. They will remain at the state prisons until at least June 1.

More than 100 of the facility’s approximately 340 inmates and 16 staff at the jail have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and testing is ongoing, Brown said.

Two state prison inmates have tested positive for the virus, DOC Director Scott Crow said.

An Oklahoma State Department of Health spokesperson hasn’t returned a phone call seeking comment. There’s been no word of other jails seeking state assistance during the pandemic.