(Waupun) Wisconsin researchers have found the presence of a state prison in a county was associated with more COVID-19 cases. According to a new study from the UW-Madison, 11 percent more COVID-19 cases occurred through July 1, 2020 in U.S. counties with state prisons. Many of the cases were likely due to the spread of COVID-19 within those correctional facilities. However, researchers estimate that 95,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths across the U.S. – the majority of the prison-associated cases – were due to spillover into surrounding communities. Study authors say counties with prisons should prepare for future outbreaks by prioritizing the health of both prisoners and residents of nearby communities.
There has been a combined total of 2,446 positive COVID tests at Waupun Correctional, Dodge Correctional, Fox Lake Correctional, and John C. Burke Correctional. Officials with the Dodge County Health Department say they include prison numbers when calculating total positive tests for the county. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health website, Dodge County has 11,995 confirmed cases which is 15th most out of the state’s 72 counties.