Coronavirus cases in corrections system increase by six

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The DelawareDepartment of Correction announced sixadditional positiveCOVID-19 test results, including three asymptomatic inmates who received proactive COVID-19 testing earlier this week.

This brings the total to 20inmates statewideto test positive for the virus at two DOC facilities,including15inmates from one minimum-security housing unit at one prison facility (Vaughn near Smyrna) and five inmates from one housing area at one Community Corrections Center.

See summary below:

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“To date, we have contained COVID-19 cases among inmates to one housing unit in one prison and one housing pod in one community corrections facility. Of the 20 inmates who have tested positive, only 8 have symptoms, which are being treated with round-the-clock care. Eleven others are well into recovery or remain asymptomatic. We will continue to be vigilant against this virus,” Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said.

The DOC is employing a varietyof prevention, screening, cleaning and containment measures to guardagainst the spread of the novel coronavirus, including:

All CorrectionalOfficers have been wearing face masks since April 10. Face masks have also been provided to more than 500 inmates who are in infirmaries, those with compromised immune systems,and certain inmates with institutional jobs, such as food service.

A recent Delaware Online story reported that inmates wanted to know why facemasks are handed out to everyone and claimed some guards are not wearing their masks.

Explanations include some masks hiding contraband to federal guidelines that do not require masks. It was also noted that Delaware’s corrections system has a low number of coronavirus cases when compared to prisons in other states.

Vaughn also has a special housing unit for prisoners testing positive. The state’s prison system has been running below capacity as sentencing changes were made for nonviolent offenses.

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