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33 inmates at Fairbanks Correctional Center test positive for COVID-19

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Nearly three dozen people incarcerated at a state correctional facility in Fairbanks have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alaska Department of Corrections said in a statement Saturday evening.

The cases identified Saturday involve 32 men and one woman in the general population at the Fairbanks Correctional Center, the corrections department said.

All staff and inmates at the facility will be tested Saturday evening, the corrections department said, adding that results are expected back by Monday evening. Those who tested positive are being isolated.

“While we never wanted this day to come, the outbreak at FCC is an eventuality the Department has prepared for," Department of Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom said in the statement. "Our focus at this point is on protecting those at the facility who are most vulnerable and identifying any additional cases in the institution.”

Before the announcement of the Fairbanks Correctional Center outbreak, there had only been five cases of COVID-19 among general population inmates statewide, Department of Corrections data showed Saturday. There have been an additional 97 cases among people who were remanded across the state, which corrections officials have said largely reflects those who have been infected within the community at large as opposed to within a closed facility.

By Thursday, 147,100 people in the nation’s prisons had tested positive for COVID-19, while 1,246 COVID-19 deaths among prisoners have occurred, according to The Marshall Project.

The cases come amid a statewide surge in cases, with Alaska reporting its 24th day of triple-digit COVID-19 case counts.

Fairbanks has been contending with another outbreak in a congregate living setting. The Fairbanks Pioneer Home saw several new cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff in October. The state-run assisted living home has reported 53 cases associated with the outbreak in the past few weeks.

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