State prison system limits vistitors after Covid cases increase in region

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The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) announced that in-person visitation at all of its Level V prison and Level IV work release and violation of probation facilities is now limited to one adult visitor per inmate. 

All visitors will be offered a surgical face mask upon their arrival and will be encouraged to wear it while in DOC facilities.  The measures are being taken, due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in the community to reduce the risk of transmission to inmates and staff.

Last week, it was reported that Delaware had the second-biggest percentage gain in new cases among the 50 states.

This week, the University of Delaware returned to an indoor masking requirement on campus.

The Department of Correction has continued to follow its comprehensive Covid-19 mitigation protocols which were introduced in March 2020 and have been updated more than a dozen times.

The latest best practices and public health guidance include testing and quarantine of new arrivals to DOC facilities, testing and quarantine of inmates who exhibit symptoms of illness and inmates who have had sustained contact with Covid-positive individuals, ongoing cleaning and air purification of DOC facilities, and continual education and access to Covid vaccination and booster shots. 

Face masks are being provided to inmates and staff and face masks have remained required in all areas where medical care is provided and in Covid isolation and quarantine units.

Fifty-nine percent of current inmates have received at least partial  Covid vaccinations.

“The health and safety of our officers, staff, visitors and the individuals under our supervision remains our top priority,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr.  “While our comprehensive COVID-19 screening, testing and mitigation measures have continued to work effectively we are temporarily taking the additional step of limiting in-person inmate visitation to one adult visitor to further reduce the risk of transmission.”

The number of inmate and DOC staff cases of Covid-19, which remained at near zero for months, has risen in recent weeks but remains relatively low.  As of May 26, 30 inmates across all DOC facilities statewide have known active cases of Covid-19, of whom only two have minor symptoms of illness.