49 Seattle work-release facility residents have COVID-19

Over half the residents of a work-release facility in Seattle have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Washington state Department of Corrections.

The outbreak at Bishop Lewis Work Release on Seattle’s First Hill has spiked since two cases were identified Oct. 16, The Seattle Times reported.

As of Oct. 30, 28 of Bishop Lewis’ 49 residents had contracted the virus. Testing of other residents didn’t start until Oct. 20, four days following the first infections. Corrections spokesperson Susan Biller said that’s because the first positive tests came back on a Friday, and staff was off for the weekend, then off Monday, Oct. 19, due to state-mandated furloughs.

Residents were quarantined in the facility starting Oct. 16, and those infected were moved to county housing designated for people with COVID-19.

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As of Friday, 526 people incarcerated in Washington’s correction centers or living in work-release facilities had contracted the virus. The largest outbreak has been at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in eastern Washington, where 233 tested positive and two died.

The Bishop Lewis outbreak is the largest at the state’s work-release facilities, which have had 53 total positive cases. Progress House Work Release in Tacoma had an outbreak with 16 people infected, and Reynolds Work Release in downtown Seattle had a seven-person outbreak.