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33 Fairbanks Correctional Center inmates test positive for COVID-19

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Nearly three dozen people incarcerated at a state corrective facility in Fairbanks have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alaska Department of Corrections said Saturday evening in a statement.

The cases identified on Saturday involve 32 men and one woman in the general population at the Fairbanks Correctional Center, the correction department said.

All staff and inmates at the facility will be tested on Saturday evening, the corrections department said, adding that results are expected by Monday evening. Those who have tested positive are isolated.

“While we never wanted this day to come, the FCC outbreak is one event the Department has prepared for,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom. “Our goal at this point is to protect those in the most vulnerable facility and identify any additional cases in the institution.”

Prior to the announcement of the Fairbanks Correctional Center outbreak, there had been only five cases of COVID-19 among inmates in the general population statewide, data from the Correctional Department showed Saturday. There were 97 other cases among people who were detained across the state, which correction officials say largely reflects those who have been infected within the community at large rather than within a closed facility.

By Thursday, 147,100 people in the nation’s prisons had tested positive for COVID-19, while there were 1,246 deaths from COVID-19 among prisoners, according to The Marshall Project.

Fairbanks has struggled with another outbreak in a congregated living environment. Fairbanks Pioneer Home saw several new cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff in October. The state assisted living home has reported 53 cases associated with the outbreak in the past few weeks.

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