80 in Delaware prison system test positive for coronavirus


Eighty positive coronavirus tests were reported this week at the state’s correctional facilities.

The Delaware Department of Correction reported the first positive inmate test results at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution, New Castle, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with more inmates testing positive at James Vaughn Correctional Institution, Smyrna.

The department implemented daily symptom screening by medical staff, including temperature and pulse oxygen level checks, for more than 1,700 inmates at several prisons and work release centers, on top of prevention,screening, testing, andcleaning efforts.

Testing identified 45 Vaughn inmates with positive Covid-19 results from that same housing building and three additional tiers in other housing units.

After an initial positive test result was received at Baylor, the entire housing unit was immediately placed in quarantine. All inmates in the unit received a Covid-19 test, and movement was limited across the prison compound.

Vaughn Covid-19 treatment center.

The results showed 32 inmates testing positive at Baylor. Through contact tracing, the DOC has identified a contract behavioral healthcare professional who has tested positive as the likely source of the infection, despite wearing proper personal protection equipment.

Delaware saw a record number of daily Covid-19 cases on Thursday.

“DOC redoubled our screening, prevention, and testing measures within our correctional system as community spread increased outside of DOC facilities and that effort paid off with early detection of clusters of infection at two prison facilities,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said. “Over the past eight months the Department of Correction and our health care provider have learned how to effectively mitigate Covid-19 and we are working aggressively and methodically to eradicate these clusters of the virus from our facilities. All inmates who have tested positive are receiving round-the-clock treatment, and our extensive screening, testing, and cleaning continues across every correctional facility.”

Three additional inmates tested positive for Covid-19 this week, including one work release offender from Sussex Community Corrections Center and two cellmates from Howard R. Young Correctional Institution.

All have been moved to the Vaughn COVID-19 Treatment Center. Of the 80 total inmates with infections 47 are asymptomatic and 33 have minor symptoms.None are hospitalized or require supplemental oxygen.

Earlier, the correction system temporarily suspended in-person visitation statewideas a precautionand temporarily suspended work release programs statewide.

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