HELENA – Montana’s correctional facilities are scheduled to reopen for visitors and volunteers later this month after more than a year of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state’s new corrections director, Brian Gootkin, said in a statement Friday that the department’s medical staff consulted with public health officials to create its reopening plan.
“We are thrilled that we can reopen visitation for the inmates in our secure facilities,” Gootkin said in an email. “COVID-19 has thrown many challenges at our facilities and staff, and I’m so proud of the work they have done to keep each other and our inmates safe. Now, it’s time to reunite families with their loved ones.”
The Montana Women’s Prison in Billings will allow visitors starting April 24, followed by the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge and the Pine Hills Correctional Facility on April 29, the Montana State News Bureau reported.
Visitors and inmates will both be screened with a temperature test prior to a visit. If the screening produces a high temperature or any other symptoms, the visit will be denied, said the Department of Corrections.
The Montana State Prison reported its most recent virus cases in March, with six inmates who were screened and seven staff members testing positive for the coronavirus.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, breathing trouble, sore throat, muscle pain and loss of taste or smell. Most people develop only mild symptoms.
But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia. Sometimes people with a coronavirus infection display no symptoms.
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