Two state DOC employees test positive for COVID-19

DOC is “highly encouraging” all eligible employees to work remotely.

The Washington State Department of Corrections has confirmed that two employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Thursday, the Washington State Department of Corrections confirmed that an employee working at the Monroe Correctional Complex-Washington State Reformatory has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a state DOC news release, the employee last worked on March 8, was tested March 10 and received results on Thursday. The employee will remain at home away from others until they recover. The employee, MCC leadership and human resources are working closely with medical professionals and will stay in contact with the employee throughout the recovery process to ensure they get the proper care.

On Sunday, the state DOC confirmed that a second employee working on the third floor of DOC headquarters tested positive for COVID-19 on March 13. The employee was last in the office Wednesday, March 11 and will be at home until they recover, according to a press release.

When the employee first reported symptoms, DOC identified employees considered to be in close contact with the employee, notified them and asked them to self-quarantine at home and monitor symptoms until the suggested 14-day quarantine period ends. According to the Washington State Department of Health, close contact includes:

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
  • Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes; OR
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

“Corrections continues to be vigilant in efforts to protect our staff, those we serve and our communities,” said DOC Secretary Stephen Sinclair. “Effective immediately, all offices and facilities within the Department, including prisons, work release and field offices, will be implementing enhanced screening protocols to the degree possible with available onsite equipment. We are closely monitoring the health and safety of our employees and those in our care and with those recovering from COVID-19 a speedy recovery.”

As of Sunday, DOC stated they had no reported cases of incarcerated individuals or individuals on supervision with COVID-19. DOC’s health services team has developed a specific protocol for COVID-19 screening, testing and infection control that they are updating regularly and have been distributing to health services staff and facility superintendents since March 5, the release states.

“The department will continue to follow Department of Health and CDC guidance and take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including increasing routine cleaning and sanitation,” the state DOC release reads.

In addition to these precautions, DOC is highly encouraging all eligible employees to work remotely.