News Briefs

Norton inmate tests positive for COVID-19

By: - July 23, 2020 4:41 pm
The Kansas Department of Corrections led by secretary Jeff Zmuda says a fifth inmate who contracted COVID-19 has died. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

The Kansas Department of Corrections led by secretary Jeff Zmuda says an 11th inmate who contracted COVID-19 has died. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas Department of Corrections secretary Jeff Zmuda on Thursday said an inmate at the state-run prison in Norton had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total of corrections facilities with known infections to eight.

The infected man was among 96 residents in the minimum security unit at the Norton Correctional Facility. All of the unit’s inmates and staff members will be tested, Zmuda said, and the unit will be in quarantine for two weeks.

More than 900 inmates and 100 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 across the corrections system, including 850 inmates and 96 staff members at the Lansing prison. Infections also have been documented at the Wichita Work Release Facility, Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex, men’s prisons in El Dorado, Ellsworth and Hutchinson, and the women’s prison in Topeka.

“As positive COVID-19 cases in Kansas continue to rise toward record levels, family members are undoubtedly worried about their loved ones in our prison system,” Zmuda said. “All of our residents are important to us, and we will work diligently to ensure their continued health and well being.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is a lifelong Kansan.