- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The warden of the South Dakota Women’s Prison resigned abruptly this week after nine women escaped from the prison and another tested positive for COVID-19.

Wanda Markland offered her resignation and left the position on Tuesday. There is now an interim warden running the prison.

State officials announced on Monday that an inmate at the prison had tested positive for COVID-19. Nine women escaped from the prison that night. One of the women who escaped has been apprehended, and three others were taken into custody on the Crow Creek Reservation.

Noem confirmed on Tuesday that the escapees were from the same unit as the woman who tested positive, but the governor did not know how close in proximity the women had been. Officials are keeping the woman with COVID-19 in isolation. Secretary of health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon said Tuesday an investigation is underway into how the coronavirus spread to the prison and who might be at risk for infection.

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