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More positive cases expected at Green River Correctional Complex, officials plan to separate inmates

Posted at 12:59 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 13:09:32-04

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — One of the places hit the hardest by the coronavirus in Kentucky is the Green River Correctional Complex. On Monday, the Muhlenberg County Health Department reported 168 active COVID-19 cases and two deaths at the prison.

"This is what people are seeing all over the country in specific facilities," said Governor Andy Beshear. "It's a challenge and it's a concern and it's something we are all concerned about - and we're going to be working very actively to address."

Since the virus is spreading throughout the prison, the state tested everyone inside on Friday. This includes inmates, staff, and suppliers.

During his briefing on Monday, the governor said the state is still waiting for all of the results, but he warned more cases are expected.

"We expect to have up to 120 more positives in that facility," said Beshear. "We believe we will have one additional death as we're reporting [Tuesday]."

Once the state receives the test results, the prison population will be split into four groups.

"The physical facility down there allows this to happen," said J. Michael Brown, the Secretary of the Executive Cabinet.

The Green River Correctional Complex is a cluster of buildings, so the state plans to separate the inmates into different housing units.

"One of those units will be used to house those who have tested positive. That way we can isolate them from the rest of the population," said Brown. "Another unit will be used to [house] those who have tested negative but have had some direct exposure to someone else who has been positive - either immediately or in the past. The third will be used to [house] those who have tested negative, but have not had any direct exposure to other inmates."

The fourth unit will be used to protect inmates who have health conditions that make them high risk for COVID-19.

"We'll have a separate place to house those who are medically vulnerable - isolated from the rest of the population," said Brown.

Once the test results for all the inmates come in, the state says it will re-test targeted populations as well.

"I know that it's been a difficult situation for everybody down at Green River, but I want to commend all of those - particularly our corrections workers, and in fact the inmates who have cooperated all for the health and well being of everyone there," said Brown.