As Prisons In Other States See Infections Spike, Oklahoma Still Reporting Few COVID-19 Cases

Apr 27, 2020

A nonprofit news organization reports the number of COVID-19 cases in U.S. prisons more than tripled in one week, but Oklahoma still counts only nine employees and two prisoners as testing positive.

The Marshall Project reports 9,437 people in state and federal prisons have been infected and more than 140 people have died. Before this surge, there were fewer than 3,000 known cases.

The spike comes at a time when the total number of newly confirmed cases in the U.S. appears to be trending downward. Much of the increase can be attributed to a handful of states that recently began mass testing prisoners.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, 549 COVID-19 tests have been conducted for its prisoners as of April 22. The results for 83 other tests haven’t been released yet. The corrections agency tests people on a case by case basis.

At the time of the Marshall Project’s report last week, only eight prison systems that make their test numbers public had tested more than 400 people.