Lompoc federal prison begins testing inmates for coronavirus

lompoc prison.jpg
Posted at 6:18 PM, May 05, 2020

All of the inmates in the low-security unit of the federal prison complex in Lompoc will be tested for COVID-19, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Testing began this week with the goal of identifying and isolating inmates who may be carrying the virus but aren't displaying symptoms.

According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, 107 inmates at the prison have already tested positive for COVID-19. One inmate has reportedly died from the disease.

The prison announced this week it will open a newly constructed "hospital care unit" on prison grounds Wednesday. It will be used to treat ill inmates who would normally require outside hospitalization.

Prison officials say, in addition to other social distancing measures to prevent spread of the virus, inmates have been restricted from using telephone and email stations. They are encouraging friends and family members of inmates to instead correspond by sending letters through the mail.