Prisons in Seward, Ketchikan and Eagle River are on lockdown due to COVID-19 cases.
Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, a maximum security prison that currently houses about 500 people, reported 21 general population cases Wednesday.
In Eagle River, Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, a women’s prison, is two weeks into a lockdown and reported five cases. And in Southeast, Ketchikan Correctional Center reported 11 cases.
The lockdowns mean that communal meals and recreation are on hold, and family visits are canceled. The Department of Corrections says attorney visits are still allowed.
Goose Creek Correctional Center, Alaska’s largest prison, reported a single COVID-19 case in its general population on Wednesday. But a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections says it, and the other nine prisons in the state, are still operating “as close to normal as possible.”
Several other prisons reported COVID-19 infections among their intake population, including the Anchorage Correctional Complex, which had 16 cases on Wednesday. The department says intakes are isolated for two weeks before coming into contact with the general population of a prison.
The corrections department says masks have been required for inmates and staff since last summer, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for congregate settings. Over 2,000 people in the department’s custody have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic started last year. Five have died.