Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

The gym at SCI Huntingdon has been converted to an infirmary that houses inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

As a COVID-19 outbreak at a state prison in Forest County continues, the sparsely populated county in northwestern Pennsylvania now has the highest rate of coronavirus cases in the state by far. 

As of Thursday, there were 1,245 known cases in Forest County. That’s about 17% of the county’s entire population.

 

It’s also more than double the number in the county just a week before.

The gym at SCI Huntingdon has been converted to an infirmary that houses inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.
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 said it will begin a phased reopening for all state correctional facilities next Tuesday. SCI Rockview, like others, will see some coronavirus restrictions lifted.
Min Xian / WPSU

A phased reopening process for Pennsylvania state prisons will begin next Tuesday and all 25 state correctional facilities will see some coronavirus restrictions lifted, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced Friday.

Three state prison inmates sitting
Min Xian / WPSU

The opioid epidemic is treated not only as a medical problem, a disease or addiction, but also as a crime. I’m Anne Danahy. This is “Overcoming an Epidemic: Opioids in Pennsylvania,” a WPSU podcast looking at what researchers, communities and government agencies are doing to try to treat and prevent opioid addiction. In this episode, we'll look at how and when the legal system comes in, including Drug Courts aimed at helping people in the court system and a state prison program that trains inmates to offer support to other inmates.