Nine women escaped from a jail in South Dakota after an inmate was found to have been infected with the coronavirus. Four of the inmates have since been arrested and taken to custody after bolting the Pierre Community Work Center Minimum Security Unit on Monday night.
The inmates broke out of the penitentiary's minimum security zone late Monday by walking out an outside fence, the Corrections Department of South Dakota said Tuesday.
The nearby Crow Creek Indian Reservation arrested three of the escapees on Tuesday and one was found in Rapid City, about 170 miles west of Pierre, officials said.
The women, all of whom were housed in the same annex, fled the non-secure correctional facility without permission via an outside fence, officials of corrections said in a statement.
In a tweet the South Dakota Corrections Department named three of the escapees as Kelsey Flute, 30, Jordan Wakeman, 27, and Pamela Miller, 28.
In the meantime, police in the state of Washington were looking on Tuesday for six out of 14 inmates who broke out of the Yakima County Jail using a table to break open an exterior fire door and jump over a tall fence, reports claim.
This is not the first time it happened at Yakima. In 2005, nine prisoners went out through a roof during an escape from Thanksgiving weekend. Two inmates died, too, in 2017. Eight of the fugitives this time didn't make it too far until they were arrested, authorities said.
The U.S. Marshals Service is providing a reward of up to $1,000 for any information leading to the capture of the Yakima prisoners who had escaped.
According to Councilwoman Holly Cousens, one of those prisoners had been caught by firefighters in front of a fire station. Officials are now on search for the remaining six.
In a statement by correction officials, the women's prison personnel began escape drills and law enforcement was alerted. South Dakota Highway Patrol aircraft was used to support ground forces in their search for the inmates, the statement added.
Each of the escapees served sentences for low-level offences, including simple assault, forgery, burglary and controlled substance possession, officials said.
Governor Kristi Noem said the state follows all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and is "taking every possible precaution."
The US is the world's third worst-hit country, with over 54,000 Covid-19 cases and prison facilities have proven to be a concern for many countries fighting an epidemic.