More Albemarle Correctional Institution offenders tested for COVID-19

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, June 18, 2020

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State prison officials have initiated a plan to test all 31,000 offenders for COVID-19, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

“We’ve done some mass testing at prisons with significant outbreaks of this awful virus, but now we are going to test them all, the entire offender population,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said.

This testing of the population is estimated to require at least 60 days to complete, at a projected cost of more than $3.3 million.

Testing is underway at Albemarle Correctional Institution in New London, where 13 tests have been performed with six offenders testing positive, according to NCDPS data.

NCDPS spokesman John Bull said 12 staff members at ACI have also contracted the virus, of which 11 are currently away from the facility. The other has recovered, according to CDC and DHHS guidelines, and has returned to work.

As of Thursday, the state has performed 2,893 tests, with 718 offenders having contracted COVID-19. A total of 663 offenders have recovered. There have also been five COVID-19-related deaths, though none at ACI.

The tests will be analyzed by LabCorp, with the results transmitted directly into the Division of Prisons’ medical database, and these results will continue to be posted on the Department of Public Safety website.

The majority of offenders in the state prison system who tested positive for COVID-19 are now presumed to have recovered. Of the 718 individuals who tested positive so far, 635 have met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) criteria to be released from medical isolation.

“Our top priority is everyone’s health and safety, and I mean everyone,” Ishee said. “I strongly urge our staff to continue taking advantage of the COVID-19 tests being offered through our State Health Plan/FastMed/LabCorp partners.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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