DOC announces new inmate COVID cases, including first at Baylor

The Delaware Department of Correction on Friday announced the first positive inmate COVID-19 tests at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle, as well as additional inmate cases at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, near Smyrna.

Recent tests have confirmed 45 inmates at Vaughn and 32 inmates at Baylor have coronavirus.

After daily screening measures and rapid tests identified a cluster of positive cases in one housing building at Vaughn, further testing was conducted. Similarly, proactive measures identified an initial case at Baylor, and follow-up testing found more cases.

This week also saw a work-release offender from Sussex Community Corrections Center in Georgetown and two cellmates from Wilmington’s Howard R. Young Correctional Institution test positive. All have been moved to the Vaughn COVID-19 treatment center.

Of the 80 total inmates with active COVID-19 infection as of Friday, 47 are asymptomatic and 33 have minor symptoms. None are hospitalized or require supplemental oxygen, the agency said.

Of the 48 male inmates, 47 have been transferred to the treatment center, with the other housed in the Vaughn infirmary for observation. Thirty-one of the 32 female inmates are in a stand-alone housing unit at Baylor with 24-hour medical and security staff, and one is being housed separately in quarantine.

“DOC redoubled our screening, prevention, and testing measures within our correctional system as community spread increased outside of DOC facilities and that effort paid off with early detection of clusters of infection at two prison facilities,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement.

Claire DeMatteis

“Over the past eight months the Department of Correction and our healthcare provider have learned how to effectively mitigate COVID-19 and we are working aggressively and methodically to eradicate these clusters of the virus from our facilities. All inmates who have tested positive are receiving round-the-clock treatment, and our extensive screening, testing, and cleaning continues across every correctional facility.”

The DOC temporarily suspended in-person visitation statewide last week and did the same for work-release Wednesday.

The agency screens anyone who enters a prison or violation of probation or work-release center. It also conducts daily cleanings and requires employees to wear masks. Voluntary COVID-19 testing is available for correctional staff and medical personnel.

Newly arriving inmates are held in isolation for the first 14 days, during which time they are carefully monitored. Face coverings have also been provided to every inmate.

In total, 551 inmates and 203 employees have recovered from COVID-19. Eleven inmates have died from the virus, 10 of whom had other serious underlying conditions.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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