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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 20, 2020
Magen Johnson, Public Information Specialist (360) 968-3422 or magen.johnson@co.thurston.wa.us 
Meghan Porter, Public Information Supervisor (360) 490-0562, or meghan.porter@co.thurston.wa.us 

Public Health Confirms COVID-19 Outbreak at County Corrections Center
Public Health is working with the Sheriff’s Office to contain the spread within the facility

OLYMPIA – Today, August 20, 2020, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at the Thurston County Corrections Center. An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed or probable cases with symptom onset dates within 14 days of each other in a shared location.

PHSS disease investigators identified the first case as an inmate who was released from the corrections center on Monday, August 17. This individual is currently isolating per the direction of public health officials. There is not an increased risk to the general public as a result of this outbreak.

On Tuesday, Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek, Thurston County Health Officer, and Schelli Slaughter, PHSS Director, met with Sheriff John Snaza and Deputy Chief Todd Thoma and toured the facility. 

“Our public health strike team tested approximately 300 employees and inmates yesterday and immediately quarantined anyone who had close contact with the confirmed case,” said Director Slaughter. “Today, we received the first batch of results and can confirm 6 additional cases of COVID-19 in the facility. We expect to have more results in the coming days and plan to retest all inmates and employees next week.”

Slaughter added, “The facility will be closely monitored for the next 28 days. We are working collaboratively with the Sherriff’s Office to protect the health and safety of all staff and inmates, prevent further spread of COVID-19, and contain this outbreak as quickly as possible.”   
In addition to requiring the isolation of all inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 from general population, Dr. Abdelmalek has required all staff and inmates to follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols including wearing masks at all times, maintaining physical distancing wherever possible, and increasing sanitation measures. Inmates and employees must also have their temperature and symptoms checked twice daily. 

For information and resources on COVID-19 in Thurston County, visit the Thurston County PHSS Coronavirus webpage at: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/coronavirus.aspx, or follow the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Facebook or Twitter pages (@ThurstonHealth).


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3