Inmate who tested positive continues to do well

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – The inmate at the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre who tested positive for COVID-19 remains in isolation at the prison.

State Sec. of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says the inmate continues to do well.

Nine inmates left the prison’s Pierre Community Work Center without authorization about 8:45 Monday night by exiting an exterior door. Four are now back in custody.

Gov. Kristi Noem says the COVID-19 positive inmate was in the same unit as the escaped inmates.

Malsam-Rysdon says whether or not the inmates walked away to avoid exposure to coronavirus is under investigation.

Leaving a non-secure correctional facility without authorization constitutes second-degree escape, a Class 5 felony punishable by a maximum of 5-years in prison.

Find more information, including names and photos of the escaped female inmates, at

Women’s Prison staff began escape procedures and law enforcement was notified. The South Dakota Highway Patrol aircraft was used to assist ground operations in its search for the inmates.