JEFFERSON CITY — As inmates continue to die of complications from COVID-19, Missouri prison officials announced new steps to control the spread of the deadly disease within the sprawling system.
The Missouri Department of Corrections said Tuesday it was installing 1,468 air purifying devices in all 20 prisons.
The machines, which officials say will destroy 99.4% of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 within 30 minutes, will also be placed in community supervision centers, the Transition Center in St. Louis and other state-owned facilities.
Corrections spokeswoman Karen Pojmann said the department also is acquiring 40 disinfectant sprayers designed to cover surfaces with a disinfecting mist.
The total cost of the purchases is $1.2 million. The state is using federal stimulus dollars to pay for the equipment.
“The added benefit of these technologies is that the air purifier and vital oxide sprayer kill other pathogens in addition to COVID, which will help us to keep people healthier during cold and flu season,” Pojmann said.
In addition to the disinfectant and air purifiers, the department has been monitoring sewage from the prisons since July in order to determine if infections may be starting.
The virus has claimed the lives of at least 36 inmates and four employees, according to the department.