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Prison adds 192 COVID-19 cases on Friday

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Lea County Correctional Facility/GEO Prison saw an increase of 192 COVID-19 cases on Friday.

The New Mexico Department of Health news released  announced the LCCF has over 100 positive cases today, this bring the prison’s total positive cases to 673 since the pandemic began and more than half the amount of inmates the prison can hold.

However, Eric Harrison, public information officer for the New Mexico Corrections Department said only 276 inmates are currently COVID-19 positive and the remaining have recovered.

No inmates are hospitalized as of now, Harrison said. The surge in cases came after the prison tested 100% of inmates and staff. The 100% “aggressive” testing was due to a surge in cases seen with regularly scheduled testing.

Weekly the LCCF tests 5% of inmates and 50% of staff weekly, Harrison explained. Now that a large uptick of cases has been discovered the prison will continue to test 100% of the facility regularly until “it is under control.”

Inmates who are COVID-19 positive are separated from those not infected with the virus according to Harrison.

LCCF is owned and operated by GEO Group, which contracts only with the N.M. Department of Corrections to house inmates in the prison located at the Hobbs Industrial Air Park in north Hobbs.

Aside from the increase of 192 cases at the privately run prison that only houses state inmates, Lea County saw 13 positive COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to the N.M. Department of Health.

Since the pandemic began, Lea County has has 145 deaths related to COVID-19 and a total of 8,030 cases.

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