Missouri Department of Corrections inmate tests positive for COVID-19

A man who was serving a life sentence in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot in Tennessee is out of prison. / (MGN)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Edited News Release) -- The Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC) received notification an offender has tested positive for COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.

This notification marks the first reported case of COVID-19 among state inmates. There are no reported cases of COVID-19 among staff.

The offender is currently being treated at a Kansas City area hospital, where he was admitted March 19. Before being hospitalized, the offender was being monitored for a suspected respiratory condition and had been isolated in a negative airflow chamber at Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in St. Joseph since March 4. No other offenders have had contact with the infected offender since March 4.

Medical and custody staff have followed all safety protocols to minimize exposure. Staff interacting with the offender have worn personal protective equipment in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. All rooms and vehicles the offender occupied were immediately sanitized.

All staff who have been in contact with the infected offender have been notified.

Preventative measures in place include screening of all staff members and anyone else seeking entrance to MODOC facilities, offices and other properties; enforcement of strict sanitization schedules at each facility with cleaning supplies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the suspension of offender visits; the suspension of internal transfers; and close monitoring of all offenders and staff, with isolation procedures in place to protect offenders and staff from anyone exhibiting signs of a communicable disease. Corizon Health, which provides offender medical care at all MODOC facilities, is equipped with tests, medical supplies, personal protective equipment and a pandemic protocol.