127 Durfee Inmates Test Positive For COVID-19

SPRINGFIELD — A mass testing this week at Mike Durfee State Prison (MDSP) in Springfield found 127 inmates testing positive COVID-19, according to the South Dakota Department of Corrections (DOC).

Besides the 127 inmates testing positive this week, another 22 tested negative. This week’s results produced a test infection rate of 85%.

In a press release issued Friday, the DOC said the MDSP prisoners who had tested positive have been put into isolation.

“All education, inmate skills training and work programs on the MDSP campus have been temporarily suspended,” the press release said. “All inmate transfers to and from the facility are also temporarily suspended at this time.”

Friday’s updated DOC figures showed a total of 149 inmates who have tested positive at Springfield, with two recovered and no deaths. Another 103 inmates tested negative.

Among staff members, seven have tested positive with four recovered. Another 23 tested negative.

The DOC figures so far for the Yankton Community Work Center list 10 inmates who were tested and who all tested negative. Among staff members, one has tested positive and recovered while another six tested negatives.

The Springfield and Yankton sites have not recorded any COVID-related deaths.

On Friday, there were 1,009 inmates and 154 staff members at the medium-security prison in Springfield. Also on Friday, there were 277 inmates and 23 staff at the minimum-security facility in Yankton.

The correctional facilities follow a standard policy, DOC spokesman Michael Winder told the Press & Dakotan.

“Inmates who test positive are isolated until they are determined to have recovered, typically 10-14 days, depending on the individual,” he said. “The (South Dakota Department of Health) does the contact tracing. Those who are close contacts are quarantined for up to 14 days.”

Neither the Department of Corrections nor prison officials have determined how long the inmates work programs will remain suspended, Winder said. As for visitors on the prison grounds, the DOC hasn’t allowed in-person visitation since mid-March.

Staff members who test positive are sent home until their medical provider clears them to return to work, Winder said. It’s typically 10-14 days, but the length of time depends on the individual case and how quickly they become symptom free.

The Springfield and Yankton inmate and staff resulted are included in the respective Bon Homme and Yankton counties’ figures, Winder said.

“The DOC cases are counted in the county where the facility is located,” he said.

As part of Friday’s figures, the Department of Corrections also reported 249 of the 259 inmates and staff who tested positive at the women’s prison in Pierre have recovered. Three rounds of mass testing were conducted last month at the facility in Pierre.


In a separate announcement, Gov. Kristi Noem has extended an invitation for interested persons from other states to work for South Dakota agencies, including the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections.

The announcement didn’t indicate it was an effort related to any staff shortages created by COVID-19 issues.

“This is an organized effort by the Bureau of Human Resources and the other agencies to assist in recruiting staff,” Winder said.

Meanwhile, South Dakota recorded 793 new COVID infections and three deaths Friday, according to the Department of Health in its daily update.

One of the deaths occurred in Douglas County, which was its third overall and second this week.

South Dakota’s number of COVID-related deaths now stands at 307.

Yankton County saw another big case increase Friday, adding 12 new infections. However, there were also 20 recoveries reported.

Also locally, Union County recorded 10 new cases — the 10th straight day it has seen double-digit growth in daily infections — but also saw 31 new recoveries.

Here are the summaries for area South Dakota counties:

• Bon Homme County — 9 new cases (200 overall), 0 new hospitalizations (14), 3 new recoveries (105), 0 new deaths (1), 94 active cases;

• Charles Mix County — 4 new cases (293), 0 new hospitalizations (51), 12 new recoveries (206), 0 new deaths (0), 87 active cases;

• Clay County — 6 new cases (683), 0 new hospitalizations (18), 11 new recoveries (576), 0 new deaths (8), 99 active cases;

• Douglas County — 3 new cases (145), 0 new hospitalizations (22), 8 new recoveries (90), 1 new death (3), 52 active cases;

• Hutchinson County — 2 new cases (176), 0 new hospitalizations (15), 12 new recoveries (124), 0 new deaths (2), 50 active cases;

• Turner County — 6 new cases (341), 1 new hospitalization (15), 12 new recoveries (202), 0 new deaths (8), 131 active cases;

• Union County — 10 new cases (630), 2 new hospitalizations (38), 31 new recoveries (464), 0 new deaths (10), 156 active cases;

• Yankton County — 12 new cases (590), 0 new hospitalizations (23), 20 new recoveries (448), 0 new deaths (5), 137 active cases.

In Nebraska, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) late Thursday reported four new infections in Dixon County (144 overall), and two new cases in both Cedar (124) and Knox (236) counties.

The University of South Dakota reported 50 active cases Friday (43 students, 7 staff), down one from Thursday. The number of those in quarantine dropped by one to 186, including 25 on campus (-1).

Mount Marty University on Friday reported seven active cases (6 students, 1 staff), which is unchanged from Thursday.

Also, Friday’s weekly update from the Yankton School District showed five positive cases in the district: three at Lincoln Elementary and one each at the middle school and Webster Elementary.

Here are the South Dakota statistics for Friday:

• Total Cases — 31,805 (+793);

• Active Cases — 7,312 (+180);

• Recoveries — 24,186 (+610);

• Hospitalizations — 2,044 ever hospitalized (+44); 299 currently hospitalized (-5);

• Testing — 354,104 total tests (+6,888); 226,990 individuals tested (+2,751).

In Nebraska, the DHHS reported 961 new infections late Thursday, as well as five new deaths that raised the state toll to 535.

Other statistics on the DHHS website included:

• Total Cases — 55,428 (+961);

• Active Cases — 17,240 (+425);

• Recoveries — 37,653 (+531);

• Hospitalizations — 2,631 ever hospitalized (+38); 323 currently hospitalized (+12);

• Testing — 770,507 total tests (+14,047); 529,581 individuals tested (+5,487).

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