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Airway Heights prison is one of the state's most active for coronavirus

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
The Washington Department of Corrections reports more than a thousand inmates have tested positive for coronavirus during the last 30 days.

The outbreak forces changes in services, housing

New figures provided by Washington officials show the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane County is one of the top Covid hot spots in the state’s prison system.

UPDATED to reflect new numbers reported on Monday

The Department of Corrections reports it has recorded more than a thousand positive Covid tests among inmates over the last 30 days. That’s more than any other correctional facility in the state. As of Monday, the agency said 866 cases are still considered active. About 100 staff members are also considered active cases.

There’s a shortage of healthy employees and incarcerated workers who provide services to the people inside. Some services continue, such as education classes for inmates. But the agency reports it will now only provide one hot meal out of the three times it feeds inmates every day. And the large number of people who need to be isolated has required prison officials to convert a recreation building into an area where asymptomatic Covid-positive inmates can stay.

The state reports 29 incarcerated inmates at Airway Heights have been moved to other facilities for care. According to the state, that’s far more than any other corrections facility. The agency does not provide information about where those people are, whether they were transported to hospitals in Spokane or elsewhere or simply moved to isolation facilities on the prison campus.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.