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SC prisons working to reduce risk as COVID-19 cases surge statewide

Across SCDC, 240 inmates and at least 122 staff members have tested positive for the virus as of Monday evening. 173 have since recovered.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — As coronavirus cases continue to rise, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is working to reduce the risk to inmates.

As of Monday evening, across their system, 240 offenders and at least 122 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Among those infected, the highest counts are at the Kirkland and Tyger River locations.

RELATED: No new inmates at Kirkland after another inmate tests positive for COVID-19

Kirkland, which had 55 inmates test positive, is on quarantine, and new inmates are temporarily being received at another location. Thirty-seven of those offenders have now recovered.

At Tyger River 84 inmates tested positive and none had recovered as of Monday evening.

Chrysti Shain, a corrections spokesperson, says shared bathrooms likely contributed to the rise in cases, although they are cleaning after each use.

RELATED: SC inmates making masks, helping during COVID-19 pandemic

"Inmates and staff clean living areas every two hours. Inmates on quarantine have their vitals checked twice daily. Everyone is required to wear masks unless they have a medical condition that precludes them from doing so," Shain said. 

She added that they've developed two apps to help with contact tracing and have a rapid testing machine from the state to get results more quickly.

RELATED: Record 1,741 new SC virus cases, 17 additional deaths

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The National Guard has also been tapped to assist and things like visitation and community work remain suspended as the virus rages on.

As of Monday evening, 96 inmates had recovered from the virus across the system along with 77 staffers.

RELATED: 69-year-old SC inmate tests positive for COVID-19