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Fourth state inmate tests positive for COVID-19

An inmate at the overcrowded Elba Community Based Facility and Community Work Center has tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections said Thursday. 

The latest positive test is the fourth inmate in state custody to have a confirmed case of the virus. 

Dave Thomas, 66, a terminally-ill man who was serving at the St. Clair Correctional Facility, died April 9 after testing positive for coronavirus.  

A 52-year-old male serving at the St. Clair prison also tested positive for the virus, as did a 33-year-old man serving at the Bullock Correctional Facility 

The inmate at the Elba facility who tested positive was taken to Easterling Correctional Facility in Barbour County and quarantined “in an isolation cell,” ADOC said in the statement. 

The other inmates at the Elba facility were quarantined as well, according to the statement. The Elba facility in January was at 425 percent of its capacity, according to ADOC’s monthly statistics. There were 234 people housed in the facility, which was designed to hold 55. 

ADOC’s facilities statewide in January were at 170 percent capacity. Despite calls from advocacy groups, legal experts and scholars, state officials have not taken steps to release ill inmates or those close to the ends of their sentences, as numerous other states have done.

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“Elba’s inmate population and staff will be monitored closely for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to include taking and recording temperatures twice per day. Appropriate measures will be taken should an inmate become symptomatic in accordance with CDC guidelines for COVID-19,” the statement reads. 

“Today, the ADOC accepted a community donation of 3,246 bars of antibacterial soap, 439 bottles of travel-size shampoo and conditioner, 71 tubes of toothpaste, 49 boxes of tissues, and seven bottles of hand sanitizer. The collection was coordinated by Alabamians for Fair Justice,” ADOC said. 

“We extend our thanks and appreciation to Alabamians for Fair Justice and all those across our communities who donated hygiene supplies, which initially will be distributed strategically to inmates deemed as high-risk. As additional hygiene supplies are received, the ADOC will distribute them more broadly to inmates across our facilities,” the statement continued. 

Written By

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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