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Dozens of inmates at West Virginia prison test positive for coronavirus

Dozens of inmates at West Virginia prison test positive for coronavirus
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Nearly 150 inmates at a correctional facility in West Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 as prison officials across the country continue to struggle with outbreaks.

Data released by the state's Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday revealed that 138 positive cases have been confirmed at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex, where just over 2,100 inmates are housed. Close to 200 inmates were still waiting for test results as of Sunday.

Correctional facilities around the country have reported outbreaks of the coronavirus, which can spread quickly in cramped conditions such as prisons. In Texas, the Federal Correctional Institute in Seagoville reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the virus over the past several months, but it has since seen those numbers drop dramatically.

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Thousands of inmates and prison staff members have tested positive for the virus nationwide, which has infected about 6 million Americans since the pandemic began. Just over 180,000 Americans have died from the disease.

Many activists have called for some inmates to be temporarily released amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to health concerns in prison facilities. Some states, including California, have responded by releasing thousands of inmates serving time for nonviolent offenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in March that officials should "increase the use of compassionate release" to limit overcrowding in prisons and work to ensure that those who remain incarcerated are protected by adequate safety measures.

“The same social distancing principles guiding public and private sector responses should guide the BOP’s response and ensure that its facilities do not unnecessarily bring people into confined spaces that may lead to greater exposure to coronavirus,” read a letter from the ACLU to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Trump campaign, RNC announce 0 million post-election fundraising haul Michigan voter fraud hearing goes viral for alleged flatulence, unruly witness MORE. “Deliberate action must be taken to meet the responsibility to ensure the health of those incarcerated in the federal system."