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517 inmates at Tucson prison test positive for coronavirus

Nearly half the inmates in the prison unit tested positive for coronavirus. The Arizona Department of Corrections says "rigorous cleaning" has been heightened.

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Department of Corrections announced Tuesday 517 inmates in the Whetstone unit of the state prison in Tucson have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Whetstone Unit currently houses 1,066 inmates total.

Inmates who tested positive are being housed as a cohort together in separate areas and are receiving appropriate medical care, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

The inmates who tested positive will not be allowed back into the prison's general population until they've been medically cleared.

"In addition to measures that are already in place, all inmates at Whetstone will receive meals and all required medication and medical services in their housing units," the ADC said in a statement.

On July 2, inmates were first provided fabric face coverings for their use, the ADC said.

Staff in those areas are equipped with full PPE that include N-95 masks, gowns, gloves, and face shields. All prison complex staff have been required to wear cloth face coverings since June 15. 

The ADC says "rigorous cleaning" throughout the prison unit was already in place and has been heightened. 

According to the ADC COVID-19 dashboard, more than 7,000 inmates in Arizona state prisons have been tested and 890 have tested positive. That number does not include all 517 confirmed positive tests at the Whetstone unit.

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