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Ventress Correctional Facility worker tests positive for COVID-19

Conceptual photograph of a doctor holding and looking at a test tube while testing samples for presence of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A worker at the Ventress Correctional Facility has tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections said Friday.

The worker is the ninth state prison employee to have contracted coronavirus. Two of the workers have recovered and have been medically cleared to return to work, ADOC said in a statement Friday. The latest employee to have tested positive is self-quarantined.

“Upon completing the appropriate follow-up interviews and due diligence, ADOC’s Office of Health Services will advise staff who may have had direct, prolonged exposure to the staff member to contact their healthcare provider and self-quarantine for the recommended 14-day period or as advised by their healthcare provider,” the statement reads.

In addition to the workers, four inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at three state facilities, including the St. Clair Correctional Facility, the Elba Community Based Facility and Community Work Center and the Bullock Correctional Facility.

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

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 earlier this week. The other inmates at the Elba facility, which in January was at 425 percent of its capacity, were also quarantined.

As of Friday 68 inmates had been tested for coronavirus and there were three tests awaiting results, according to ADOC.

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ADOC in Friday’s statement said the department has distributed hygiene packages donated by Alabamians for Fair Justice, a group of criminal justice reform advocates and formerly incarcerated people, to quarantine intake facilities at the Draper Correctional Facility and the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

“In addition, the ADOC delivered 100 of these individual hygiene packages to the medical unit at Tutwiler Prison for Women. The supply allowed for the distribution of the packages to inmates housed in the Mental Health Residential Treatment Unit as well,” ADOC said in the statement. “Any surplus will be maintained in the facility’s medical unit and distributed to inmates when housed in the infirmary. All hygiene packages strictly are for inmate use. We continue to work to sort donated supplies for further distribution to inmates across our system, which initially will be given to those considered high-risk.”

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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