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70% of Prisoners in Federal Jails Diagnosed with COVID-19

Credits: Quartz

COVID-19 cases have reached toUS prisons too and approximately 1500 prisoners are reported positive. Three hundred staff members of the Bureau of Prisons are also tested positive for coronavirus. While thirty prisoners have lost their lives to this deadly virus.

A report on coronavirus in jails tells that more than 70 percent of prisoners of federal jail were screened for coronavirus and many of them are diagnosed positive. The Bureau of Prisons indicates that 2700 inmates were tested across the nation, almost two thousand have come back positive and it strongly suggests that there are several prisoners with COVID-19 who are not currently reported.

The reaction from the government Bureau of Prisons to the increasing coronavirus emergency in prisons has raised caution among supporters and administrators about whether the agency is doing what’s needed to guarantee the security of the almost 150,000 inmates spending time in jail in federal facilities.

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And even though officials have stressed infection and death rates inside prisons are lower compared with outside, the new figures provided by the Bureau of Prisons suggest the worst is so far to come.

In FCI Butner, North Carolina, more than two hundred inmates have tested positive while six have died.USP Lompoc, which suffered the first coronavirus prison outbreak of the country, as of now the COVID-19 cases are increased to 83 with the one registered death.

Prisons authorities state that they are doing as well as can be expected under critical conditions and following rules set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A senior adviser at the Bureau of Prisons who previously ran the agency twice, Kathy Hawk Sawyer says, “We are doing the right things to manage our population and to keep them as safe as possible at this time when we can’t provide that assurance to our average American free public that everyone is safe and secure right now with this pandemic.”

Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragan wrote on Twitter that this isn’t worthy. They are not ensuring these inmates are secured. It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure individuals in its consideration, including prisoners. Being imprisoned at #TerminalIsland ought not to be a death sentence. They want answers.

Jails authorities have daily calls with CDC officials. As a major aspect of the plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus, authorities have constrained prisoner movement, set up tents to expand bed space, isolated them at some prisons, and distinguished others for possible home imprisonment.

The medical director of the bureau, Dr. Jeffrey Allen says that The Justice Department got twenty ventilators for use at emergency clinics housing federal prisoners.

Allen says that more than five thousand kits are provided to the Bureau of Prisons and now twenty rapid testing machines are sent problem area prisons to increase testing numbers. The testing was according to the current guidance of the CDC and the officials are working daily to find new methodologies to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

He said, “A lot is yet unknown about how to limit its transmission in a correctional environment, and that’s why we’re collaborating with the CDC to try to identify that sort of data that can inform our management strategies going forward.”

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An attorney-in-charge of the Federal Defenders of New York in Brooklyn says that they are not testing anybody. About 350 staff individuals have tested positive, with no recorded fatalities. FCI Elkton as of now has the most noteworthy staff sickness rate of more than forty positive cases.

The union officials inform that in prisons the shortage is still very severe and most of the time officers work for 24 hours in a row. Officers are worried because the protective equipment they are getting is not sufficient to protect them from daily contact with inmates, particularly at facilities where several have tested positive.

But Hawk Sawyer says “ We are creating and making the masks for the staff, as well as the shields and hand sanitizer and all kinds of things.”

 

About the author

Fariha Munir

Fariha is a Microbiology graduate and working as a freelance content writer. Her major areas of interest are nutrition, diseases, research, and medical diagnostic technologies.

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