Wisconsin DOC battling COVID-19 outbreaks; latest in Waupun

Waupun Correctional Institution is the latest state prison dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Friday, the Department of Corrections reports over 170 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The DOC is battling COVID-19 outbreaks all across the state and frustration is growing from the families of inmates who are now testing positive.

"I feel they can do more, and the governor can do more," Michael Isthier said.

Isthier says his son tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago. He is an inmate inside the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution which had more than 450 infected inmates earlier this month.

Michael Isthier

That total is now down to 45.

"When you are incarcerated the state is supposed to be your protector," he said.

The Department of Corrections previously told FOX6, due to the number of cases inside kettle moraine some inmates who are sick, are housed with inmates who are not. Everyone inside Kettle Moraine was quarantined during the outbreak to limit the spread.

"When the number of positive cases receded, they could again isolate the positive cases from the uninfected," the DOC said. 

Isthier says his son’s cellmate was COVID-19 positive. He knew it was only a matter of time.

"How can you distance yourself in a 6 by 8?" he said.

FOX6 confirmed one Kettle Moraine inmate passed away this week from COVID-19 pneumonia. A death that concerns Isthier.

"If he passes away, that would be hard on me," Isthier said.

Oshkosh Correctional Institution is still in the middle of an outbreak with over 250 active cases. But a new COVID-19 outbreak is happening inside Waupun Correctional Institution their cases jumped from 55 to 174 on Friday.

Cases inside the dual Racine Correctional Institution/Sturtevant Transitional Facility climbed to 149.

"It’s hard to sleep at night," he said.

The DOC says their priority during the public health crisis is the safety and health of doc staff and persons in their care.

Isthier fears outbreaks will be an ongoing problem.

"It’s going to be a repeat, because staff or somebody is going to bring it back in again!” he said.

Waupun Correctional had a slightly larger outbreak back in May and early June, which had been eliminated until it started showing up again this month. The department of corrections says they are testing anyone who is symptomatic for COVID-19.