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Friday, June 2, 2023
June 2, 2023

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COVID-19 outbreak reported at Larch Corrections Center

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

YACOLT — Larch Corrections Center was placed on facilitywide outbreak status Monday due to new COVID-19 infections among inmates and staff.

The Washington Department of Corrections reported six active cases among incarcerated individuals and eight cases among staff at the minimum-security prison near Yacolt. In December, the most recent data available online, Larch’s average daily population was 222, with a capacity of 240.

Incarcerated individuals who test positive are being temporarily relocated to the Elkhorn Unit to help stop the virus’s spread, according to a Wednesday bulletin from the DOC.

To date, 287 incarcerated individuals and 65 staff members have tested positive, according to the DOC. The majority of those cases came during an outbreak in late 2020, with more than 90 percent of the inmate population testing positive.

Seventeen DOC facilities are on outbreak status, the bulletin said.

A letter was sent Monday to incarcerated individuals at Larch, stating that there were four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the living unit. As a result, the facility started testing everyone.

The facility is now in restricted movement, which means some regularly scheduled programs will be impacted.

“As we move forward in the coming days, you can expect to see cohorting in the tiers, serial testing of our incarcerated population and an increased awareness to Personal Protective Equipment protocols — cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, and social distancing,” Larch leadership wrote.