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Hundreds test positive for COVID-19 at one Michigan prison

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Hundreds of inmates at one of Michigan’s prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. The number is expected to rise.

The Michigan Department of Corrections confirms more than 600 prisoners have tested positive at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater. In an email, spokesman Chris Gautz indicated not all results are in and the number will grow.

As first reported by The Daily Reporter newspaper, the Corrections Department decided to do mass testing at Lakeland because about 100 positives cases were found by testing individual inmates with symptoms. About half of Lakeland’s 1400 inmates are geriatric prisoners or have underlying health conditions which make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. Mass testing seemed prudent.

At most prisons in the state, testing takes place on a case by case basis.

So far, 30 prisoners statewide have died because of COVID-19.

The Lakeland Correctional Center was the subject of documentary produced by Michigan Radio's Stateside program last November. You can hear more about that prison here.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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