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  • Rich Klein


Updated: Dec 20, 2020

As of today, 50 inmates at Woodbourne Correctional Facility have tested positive for Covid-19, including one who has died - plus at least three correction officers have also tested positive.

The inmate number comes from the latest Department of Corrections & Community Supervision chart today while the information about the officers came from a source who works at the facility.

"The one officer lost sense of taste and smell earlier this week, after flu like symptoms last week," the source said. "A second said just mild flu like symptoms, the third just said sick with covid and didn’t go into detail. The only cases that Woodbourne had (in past) were civilians, no officers or inmates. That’s changed in the past few’s becoming a big issue in prisons across the state."

According to the state's data, 619 inmates at Woodbourne have tested negative and seven tests are pending.

Yesterday, The SullivanTimes reported that all the Woodbourne cases (then 32 of them) began in early December. That data came from the Correctional Association of New York. (CANY)

With vaccines rolling out nationally, only Massachusetts thus far has said it will make them available to inmates as a high priority.

Earlier in the crisis, CANY made the following recommendations to the New York State Department of Corrections & Supervision:

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DOCCS Disclose on a daily basis the number of staff and incarcerated people who have tested positive for COVID-19. As the disease spreads, disclose the number of deaths caused by the virus.

Issue weekly unusual incident reports to CANY, similar to the 24-hour report provided to the State Commission on Correction by memorandum of understanding.

Institute regular conference calls with advocacy groups to provide the latest updates about the effect of COVID-19 on DOCCS operations and incarcerated people.

Publicly release the DOCCS “Infection Control Manual” and other departmental policies related to procedures to be followed in pandemic/medical crisis situations. Distribute these documents on the DOCCS website without requiring the public to submit FOIL requests.

Ensure that people in SHU are afforded one free phone call per week along with the rest of general population.

End all “Water Deprivation” orders and prohibit any new such orders from being implemented. Test staff for symptoms every day prior to being admitted entry into the facility.

Continue to serve hot meals to the incarcerated population, even if they are alternated with cold meals.

Promote hygiene by passing out extra soap and cleaning supplies, allowing cell cleanup more than once a week, and disinfecting high touch surfaces multiple times a day, including phone areas.

Pass out clear plastic gloves and face masks to incarcerated people.

Allow the facility laundry to keep running on its normal schedule so that clothing is washed at appropriate temperatures and with appropriate detergents.

Increase the number of free secure messages allowed via the tablet program. DEVELOPING


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