“We have isolated them and we have tested. There’s a total of 21 cases,” he said. The most recent case discovered was earlier this week after an inmate went to court and told a judge he felt like he had the virus. A test showed the inmate did have COVID.
There are 70 active cases across the state in Department of Correction facilities, including one at the Northeast Correctional Center. Reburn said there have been 46 deaths statewide from the virus. That includes five from Northeast, with the last one occurring Oct. 19, 2020.
Lowe said as long as inmates only have flu-like symptoms, they remain at the detention center. “Inmates who test positive are quarantined in the infirmary,” Reburn said. “In the event that bed space runs out at the infirmary, plans are in place to utilize a housing unit.”
Reburn said when treatment is beyond what the DOC can provide, state inmates are taken to a hospital. “Anytime an offender has been outside of the confines of the facility — work detail, court proceedings, medical, intake from local jail, etc. — they are screened,” Public Information Officer Robert Reburn said. “Furthermore, with the exception of those on work detail, offenders who have been outside the confines of the facility are quarantined for a minimum of 10 days.”
“Employees who have been exposed are to refrain from reporting to work for 72 hours,” Reburn said. “If after 72 hours they do not experience any symptoms, they are permitted to return to work. If a staff member has tested positive, they are to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days and can return to work after 10 days so long as they have not exhibited any symptoms or fever the final 72 hours.” Both Lowe and Reburn said they have also dealt with employees who have COVID.
“We’re testing inmates,” when COVID is suspected, Lowe said. “The nurses are doing their due diligence,” with taking temperatures and monitoring anyone with symptoms, Lowe said. “If they’re showing signs and test negative … we try to isolate them away from everybody. We’re trying to keep it maintained to one area.” Lowe described a similar process for Washington County.
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