Five staff members at Albemarle Correctional Institution test positive for COVID-19
Five members of the Albemarle Correctional Institution recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to John Bull, communications officer for North Carolina’s prison system.
The officers are off the job and being treated by primary care physicians. Bull said no prisoners have tested positive for the virus.
Contact tracing is underway at the facility to determine others who have had exposure with the five staff members.
Health Department Director David Jenkins confirmed the news that five people at ACI had contracted the virus.
Since the pandemic began, Bull said, 152 of the roughly 14,000 N.C. Prisons employees have either self-reported testing positive through their testing provider of choice or have tested positive through mass staff testing at Neuse Correctional or Caswell Correctional, or through the state-wide FastMed/LabCorp partnership.
According to data listed on the Department of Public Safety website, 2,357 tests have been performed on offenders in correctional facilities across the state. Six offenders have been tested at ACI, though none tested positive. Of the total number of offenders tested, 707 have contracted the virus.
NCDPS has taken measures to ensure the safety of the prisons. In mid-March, visitation and volunteering at the prisons were suspended while medical screenings for personnel, such as contractors, vendors and legal visitors, were enacted. On April 6, the prison system reduced offender transfers between prisons while distributing additional personal protective equipment, including washable face masks to all staff and offenders at three prisons where outbreaks occurred.
This week, NCDPS extended temporary pandemic emergency pay for staff who work in a prison facility through June.
Every Tuesday and Friday by 4 p.m., the state updates outbreaks in congregate living settings, which include nursing homes, residential care facilities and correctional facilities. An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases.
As of Friday, the state had 41,249 confirmed cases along with 1,092 deaths, according to data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. A total of 595,697 people have been tested, which has resulted in 10 percent testing positive.
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