SANDY HOOK The small spread of COVID-19 at the Little Sandy Correctional Complex has turned into a full-blown outbreak, accounting for all but one of the 263 active inmate cases in the state’s prison system.

Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown announced the outbreak at Gov. Andy Beshear’s Tuesday briefing. The newest numbers show the Little Sandy now has the second-most COVID-19 cases seen among inmates in the state.

Last week, a DOC spokeswoman reported 37 inmates had tested positive — now more than a quarter of the prison 878 man population is positive, according to the latest figures. Five staff have also tested positive, accounting for half of the active staff cases in the state.

So far, there have been no deaths or hospitalizations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Likening it to the Green River Correctional Complex outbreak earlier this year, Brown said the layout of the prison provides a bit of room to separate the inmates according to their health status. Positive cases will have their own wing of the facility, those testing negative without exposure to the virus will have a dorm, those testing negative with exposure to the virus will have their own zone and those with underlying health conditions will be segregated as well, Brown said.

“We are in a position to physically separate the population here, like Green River,” Brown said.

Brown said sometimes the outbreaks are the result of a transfer, other times staff brings it in — and sometimes, “we don’t know.”

“We’ve been successful in keeping the numbers down, but we still see it slipping in despite our best efforts,” Brown said.

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