LCF deemed contained COVID-19 site

John Richmeier
Courtesy: Leavenworth County Health Department

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Lansing Correctional Facility, which has resulted in more than 800 confirmed cases among inmates, is considered contained.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed the outbreak was contained as of June 1. This is according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Corrections, which operates LCF.

The Kansas Department of Corrections reported Monday that 830 inmates at LCF have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak. But more than 700 of them have been asymptomatic, which means they have shown no signs of illness.

The KDOC figures released Monday also indicated that 806 of the inmates who tested positive already have met conditions to be considered recovered.

Ninety-six employees at LCF also have tested positive for the virus. Forty-nine of them have returned to work.

Two staff members have died from complications related to COVID-19. Four inmates have died.

Figures released Tuesday by the Leavenworth County Health Department placed the total number of LCF inmates who have tested positive for the virus at 835, which is slightly more than the latest number from the Department of Corrections.

Because the outbreak is considered contained, inmates, staff members and contractors at LCF are resuming many activities. This includes inmates returning to their jobs in food service, laundry and maintenance activities as well as private industry jobs that are considered essential. Activities that expose inmates to the community, including visitation, volunteers, mentors and non-essential private industry jobs, are not being resumed at this time, according to the news release from the Department of Corrections.

“While we are resuming many activities, we fully recognize that this virus will still be present for the foreseeable future, so we plan to maintain the mitigation strategies that have been implemented at each of our facilities,” Jeff Zmuda, secretary of KDOC, said in a news release. “This resumption of activities is a first step to normalizing operations at Lansing, but one we will do with an abundance of caution and care.”

Members of the Kansas National Guard who provided support at LCF with logistics, food and medical services concluded their mission June 4, according to the news release from the Department of Corrections.

The first four Kansas National Guard members arrived at LCF on April 15. This number grew to more than 40 in support of the prison’s COVID-19 response.

“The Kansas National Guard is full of highly trained, professional public servants who are ready at a moment’s notice to serve their fellow Kansans,” Zmuda said in a news release. “We were extremely impressed with their willingness and ability to adapt to their new surroundings and face each task with strength and dignity. On behalf of the department, I want to sincerely thank them for their work.”

Representatives of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment began assisting the Department of Corrections with COVID-19 preparations in early March. A KDHE staff member was dedicated to LCF as the outbreak there escalated, according to the Department of Corrections news release.

“(KDHE) Secretary Lee Norman and Phil Griffin, director of the Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention at KDHE, have been amazing partners to our agency,” Zmuda said in the news release. “They have brought the health expertise that we needed to make sure that our staff received the most up-to-date information on the virus and how to keep the men, women and youth in our care safe.”

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the county Tuesday by the Leavenworth County Health Department.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR