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33 inmates infected with coronavirus in Alaska prison

33 inmates infected with coronavirus in Alaska prison
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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. (NIAID-RML via AP)

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FAIRBANKS, ALASKA -- An outbreak of coronavirus has infected 33 inmates at a prison in Fairbanks, Alaska, causing the facility to go into quarantine for 14 days, state officials said Saturday.

Thirty-two of the cases at the Fairbanks Correctional Center are men and one is a woman, the Alaska Department of Corrections said in a statement. All of those infected were housed in the general population, the department said.

Other inmates are being tested for coronavirus, with results expected by Monday, the department said.

The inmates with coronavirus are being isolated in a separate unit of the prison. The facility serves northern Alaska and has male and female inmates, some of whom are serving sentences and others of whom are awaiting trial.

The Department of Corrections "has been proactive in preventing the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in our facilities even before the first positive case was identified in Alaska," said Nancy Dahlstrom, the department s commissioner. "While we never wanted this day to come, the outbreak at FCC is an eventuality the Department has prepared for. Our focus at this point is on protecting those at the facility who are most vulnerable and identifying any additional cases in the institution."

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

But for some -- especially older adults and people with existing health problems -- it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.
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