GEORGETOWN, Del. – The Delaware Department of Correction announced on Monday that it is taking aggressive measures to combat a cluster of inmate COVID-19 cases that was identified late last week at its prison facility in Georgetown.
On Friday, officials announced that after six weeks with no inmates testing positive for the virus in any of the state’s correctional facilities, proactive monitoring revealed a new cluster of positive cases among the inmate population at Sussex Correctional Institution. These are the first cases at SCI since the pandemic began.
We’re told that last week, after three inmates showed symptoms of COVID-19 infection and tested positive, the DOC immediately initiated contact tracing to identify, isolate, and proactively test individuals who came into sustained contact with these inmates.
As a result, all inmates in the housing units in which the infected inmates had been assigned were quarantined and began receiving twice-daily temperature checks, screenings for symptoms, and pulse oxygen level testing. All inmates were issued face masks, and in-person visitation was suspended as a reaction. Voluntary testing is being offered to all SCI staff members, and additional deep cleanings are being conducted, including decontamination of housing units with specialized fogging machines.
Today, officials announced that all programming at SCI is being temporarily suspended for one week to try to restrict movement across the facility. Inmates will still be provided recreation time, including in outside recreation areas. The facility is not accepting any new commits on a temporary basis, and all inmates are being tested for the virus.
58 SCI inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, including 48 who are asymptomatic. 51 have been transferred to DOC’s COVID-19 treatment center at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, four are being treated at the prison infirmary, and three are being treated in stable condition at area hospitals.
In addition, in-person visitation has been temporarily suspended at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution after two contract healthcare workers at the facility tested positive. Two additional healthcare contract workers at the facility have test results pending. No inmates have tested positive or are registering symptoms of COVID-19, but all inmates are being carefully monitored, including twice-daily temperature checks.