Last week, the state Department of Corrections reported an inmate at the St. Joseph prison in northwest Missouri tested positive for COVID-19. During an interview today with Gov. Mike Parson, he says it might not be the last one within Missouri’s prison system.

Parson expects more cases of coronavirus could pop up in Missouri prisons

“We knew that the prisons, the nursing homes, your seniors are the most vulnerable people here to get this virus,” says Parson. “So we were somewhat prepared for that. So as soon as we got that, they were isolation. They were taken to isolation and are figuring out who they had been around.”

Parson says prevention is key.

“This is a virus,” says Parson. “So we know, no matter where you’re at, people are going to get the virus, no matter whether you live in rural Missouri, urban Missouri, whether you’re in prison, whether you’re in a normal daily life environment.”

The St. Joseph prisoner is the first reported case of COVID-19 among MODOC offenders. There are no reported cases of COVID-19 among staff. The department says medical and custody staff followed all safety protocols to minimize exposure.

Parson says the state is trying to find out how the prisoner got the virus.

The governor says he’s not aware of any others within Missouri’s prisons testing positive for the respiratory disease. The state operates 21 prisons with about 26,000 offenders.

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