Topeka Correctional Facility has had 89 COVID-19 cases since Jan. 8, making it the largest hotspot in Kansas

Blaise Mesa
Topeka Capital-Journal
The Topeka Correctional Facility is currently the state's largest cluster for COVID-19 as of Friday.

The Topeka Correctional Facility has at least 89 COVID-19 cases since Jan. 8, which makes it the largest hotspot in the state, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s COVID-19 database.  

The 89 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks is three times more than the 26 cases the Hutchinson, Harvey County and El Dorado correctional facilities have combined. No other long-term care facility, school, day care, business, religious gathering or sport has more COVID-19 exposures at a single location, the website said. 

Mari Flowers, whose daughter is being housed at the Topeka Correctional Facility, said her daughter has complained about how many people are cycling in and out of the facility. She said her daughter would often be quarantined because of one positive case in the group and was upset to hear there is still an outbreak. 

“They locked them down, but yet it wasn’t working,” Flowers said.

The Kansas Department of Corrections didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Dec. 23 that Gov. Laura Kelly said inmates should get a COVID-19 vaccine before the general public.

"We do know that congregate living centers are hotspots, whether you talk about prisons, you talk about nursing homes,” Kelly said Dec. 23. "The only way ultimately to rid those kinds of facilities of the virus is for the vaccination to come.”

Congregate settings are in Phase 2 of the state’s vaccine plan.