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An aerial image of Sterling Correctional Facility in northeast Colorado. (Google Images screenshot)

An outbreak of the new coronavirus has been revealed at a private prison in southeast Colorado as the state reports its second inmate death linked to the disease.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
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At least 37 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Crowley County Correctional Facility in southeast Colorado. The prison is owned and operated by Core Civic, a Tennessee-based corporation.

Annie Skinner, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections, said Core Civic began broad testing at the prison after two inmates tested positive.

About 300 of the approximately 1,900 inmates at the minimum-security prison have been tested. Core Civic, in a written statement Monday evening, said one inmate is being treated at a hospital.

The local health department says most of the prisoners who tested positive for the virus are asymptomatic and that the disease, so far, has been contained to one pod of the prison.

The Colorado Department of Corrections is also reporting a second death at the Sterling Correctional Facility in northeast Colorado that is believed to be linked to the virus. The agency says the inmates either tested positive for the disease or had symptoms before their deaths.

The first inmate to die from what is believed to be coronavirus at the facility was an 86-year-old man. The CDOC refused to say whether he had tested positive for the virus, but told reporters that he was taken to a hospital after becoming ill with symptoms of the disease. His name has not been released.

The other inmate who died was a 61-year-old man. Skinner said she couldn’t provide any further information.

More than 300 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Sterling Correctional Facility, a prison that holds about 2,500 people. About 1,400 inmates have been tested.

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul