Staff reports

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Woodward County continued to explode according to Sunday's report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The county now has 572 positive cases with 344 of those active cases, according to the heath department.

A great majority of the cases are reportedly coming from William S. Key Correctional Center as Fort Supply is listed with 430 positive cases.

Updated numbers from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website will not be available until Monday, but as of Friday (two days behind the department of health reports) the prison reported 221 positive cases among inmates and seven among staff. Those will likely show a significant increase when new numbers are available from the DOC.

Also on Friday, the corrections department announced it is deploying rapid response teams to facilities declared hot spots. That means a team will meet with the facility warden and go through every step of the agency's COVID-19 Hot Spot Action Plan.

Members of DOC’s rapid response teams include ODOC correctional officers who worked inside Comanche County Jail early in the pandemic and learned, first-hand, best practices to cease the spread of the virus. These officers also will deliver additional PPE kits for staff, sanitation supplies and an additional fogger.

Officers ensure the facility follows a sanitation schedule and documents temperatures inside housing units without air conditioning. The team also includes a representative from food services to assist with the inmates’ nutritional needs and agency experts in environmental health and safety, human resources and medical services. Each team member helps the warden identify resources needed to quickly attack the virus.

“While we are taking many proactive steps to limit the spread of this virus in our facilities, we also continue to respond swiftly to hot spots that develop,” said DOC Director Scott Crow.

Several weeks ago, ODOC medical staff developed a plan to identify hot spots within facilities. The plan sets forth specific criteria. A facility or specific unit within a facility is automatically designated a hot spot when at least 20% of inmates test positive within a celled housing unit or at least 15% of inmates test positive within an open bay housing unit, according to DOC. In situations with fewer positive cases, medical staff will consider other factors, such as the medical acuity level of the unit, the known vulnerability of the population, the number of staff positives and any other factors that increase the risk of infection and spread.

To release a facility or unit from hot spot status, ODOC medical staff will evaluate the number of positive test results, the number of inmates in quarantine and/or isolation, and the medical acuity of inmates at the location.

Outside of Fort Supply, the Woodward County numbers have held fairly steady.

Woodward is listed with 131 cases overall and 39 active.

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