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3 staff test positive for COVID-19 at treatment program in Warm Springs

3 staff test positive for COVID-19 at treatment program in Warm Springs

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Three staff members at a building in Warm Springs that runs treatment programs for men in custody have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The cases are at Community Corrections Program West and WATCh, which are separate programs in the same building of the Montana State Hospital campus. 

The Department of Corrections contracts with the programs for men in custody. 

One staff member was notified of a positive result Monday, after which the Department of Corrections Clinical Services Division tested all staff and inmates identified as close contacts, said department spokeswoman Carolynn Bright. 

Through that follow-up testing, two more staff members were discovered to have the new coronavirus, Bright said. The follow-up testing was conducted on Tuesday, and the two additional staff positives were confirmed on Wednesday. All results are in. 

"Following consultation with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, it was determined no additional testing was warranted," Bright wrote. 

The 38 inmates who were tested reside in one pod, according to Bright. The results were listed on the department's web page for COVID-19 testing, under the sentinel testing section. 

Sentinel testing is testing of asymptomatic people to try to gauge the spread of the virus. The two programs combined have a capacity of 167 beds. It was unclear why only 38 inmates were tested. Bright did not immediately return a request for clarification. 

WATCh provides a six-month, statutorily mandated treatment program for men convicted of four or more DUIs. In Montana, a fourth DUI becomes a felony. 

CCP West is a 90-day substance use disorder treatment program for men in Department of Corrections custody that is operated out of the same building as WATCh, on the campus of the Montana State Hospital. 

Bright referred all other questions about the cases to Community, Counseling and Correctional Services. CCCS is the company that operates the treatment programs. 

A call and email to the company's administration office were not immediately returned Friday.

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