The number of Missouri prison inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic is approaching 1,000, and the number of infected prison staff has topped 300.
Data on the Missouri Department of Corrections website on Friday showed 953 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, while 340 staff members statewide also have tested positive. Just one inmate has died from the virus — a man imprisoned in St. Joseph died in April.
The corrections department website lists 263 of the inmate cases as active, and 114 of the staff cases. The largest outbreak has been at the prison in Bonne Terre, where 288 inmates and 95 staff have tested positive. The Chillicothe Correctional Center, which houses women, has reported 252 positive tests among inmates and 27 among staff.
Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman Karen Pojmann said the number of active cases among prisoners declined by 25 percent in August, and only six prisoners have required outside medical treatment since the pandemic began.
Pojmann said Missouri has one of the nation's most aggressive testing programs — more than 32,300 inmates and staff combined have been tested.
"The Missouri Department of Corrections testing rate is significantly higher than that of most other state departments of corrections in the United States, and our infection rate is lower," Pojmann said in an email.
Information from The Covid Prison Project shows nationally, 118,683 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus and 964 have died. Among national prison staff, the website lists 23,323 confirmed positive cases and 67 deaths.
The state health department on Friday announced an additional 1,605 confirmed cases statewide, bringing the total to 90,215 since the pandemic began. The state also announced 17 new deaths. The death toll now stands at 1,562.
The health department said in a news release the new number of cases was misleading because hundreds of cases, dating back as far as four months, came from one lab that had not previously reported any cases to the state.
In Callaway County, there have been 364 total cases as of Friday with 105 active and 257 recoved, according to the county public health department. There have been two deaths.