COVID surges through some Alaska prisons, but no cases at Wildwood yet

Nov 19, 2020

Wildwood Correctional Center is located in Kenai and falls under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Department of Corrections.
Credit Alaska Department of Corrections

Coronavirus cases are proliferating at prisons around the state. At Alaska's largest prison, Goose Creek, in Point MacKenzie, there’s an active outbreak of 204 cases. At the Fairbanks Correctional Center, there have been over 150 total cases.

But not at Wildwood Correctional Center. The Kenai facility, which is currently holding 415 inmates, has not seen any cases of the virus yet among its general population, said Sarah Gallagher, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections.

Across the state, the DOC is screening prison staff prior to shifts and mandating they wear masks. Inmates are encouraged to stick to confined social bubbles and wear masks, which the facilities provide. Gallagher also said the DOC hired more inmate workers to “enhance environmental cleaning efforts around the facility.”

At Wildwood, inmates are tested when they are booked into the facilities and are quarantined before they join the facility’s general population. The facility saw one inmate test positive during this remand testing process, Gallagher said.

Inmates also are tested before they are released to alternative facilities, like treatment centers, and before they attend outside medical appointments. They will receive tests when they exhibit symptoms.

Facilities experiencing outbreaks are conducting tests of inmates every three days, until there are no positive cases for at least two weeks.