State Prison in Forest County Sees Outbreak of COVID-19 Cases

Jan 15, 2021

In this file photo from the state Department of Corrections, The gym at SCI Huntingdon has been converted to an infirmary that houses inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Credit Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Until now, Forest County in northwestern Pennsylvania had seen relatively few cases of COVID-19, but that changed when cases at a state prison spiked.

The daily COVID-19 count from the state showed cases in Forest County increasing by 33% — jumping from 430 to 571 on Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections confirmed the outbreak of cases at the State Correctional Insitution Forest, which is located in Marienville. The prison is listed as having a total of 201 inmate cases — up from 47 the week before. That includes 173 active inmate cases, along with 20 active cases among staff.

A spokeswoman said that on Jan. 7, an inmate who developed COVID-like symptoms tested positive. After that, the prison tested all 178 inmates in that dorm. Of those, 138 came back positive. 

Other prisons have been hit even worse. The State Correctional Institution Dallas in Luzerne County is listed as having had nearly 1,300 cases, up from 250 a month ago.

 

At Forest, they plan to mass test the entire facility.