On Monday, the Wyoming Women's Center elevated its COVID-19 status to red, due to 14 positive test results from inmates.

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In order for a facility to enter red status, there must be a 14-day average facility transmission rate of 7% to 10%, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and/or the county transmission rate is high and 150 hospital beds are being used for COVID-19 patients.

Niobrara County, where the Women's Center is located, is currently at a substantial transmission rate according to the CDC, while Goshen County, just below Niobrara, is listed as high.

With the status changed to red, masks are required for everyone at the facility, only non-contact visitation is allowed, programming and religious services are restricted, inmates won't be transferred, parole boards will meet by video only, and onsite temperature checks will be conducted.

The Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC) changed how they handle COVID-19 at their facilities at the end of March to reflect local transmission rates, rather than worrying about cases across the state.

The facility will conduct surveillance tests of all staff and inmates this week, as the protocol for the facility requires them to test everybody if they detect any COVID-19 tests.

Since the pandemic began there have been nine inmate deaths due to COVID-19, with the most recent death occurring at the beginning of March.

Paul Martin, the administrator for Support Services with the WDOC, said that he doesn't know if there have been any staff deaths due to COVID-19, as that is not something they keep track of.

In Wyoming, COVID-19 cases have decreased from a high of over 4,000 cases in January, with the most recent numbers showing 158 cases reported on April 26, up from 134 on April 19.

During the month of April, deaths were relatively steady, at around five deaths reported each week, down from around 20 in the month of March.

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