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Fifth inmate, two more workers test positive for COVID-19 in crowded Alabama prisons

An inmate at the Bibb Correctional Institution and two prison workers at other facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections said in a late-evening press release at 8:58 p.m. Thursday.

The man tested positive for coronavirus at a local hospital, where he is being treated for a separate medical condition, ADOC said in a press release. He is the fifth state inmate to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

In January, the Bibb Correctional Institution was at 199 percent capacity, according to ADOC’s most recent publicly available statistical report.

Prior to being taken to the local hospital, the inmate was in Bibb’s infirmary, and the other inmates in the infirmary have been placed in a “level-one quarantine,” the press release states.

ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Rose in a response to APR on Friday said that inmates under a “level-one” quarantine are monitored closely for symptoms of COVID-19, and have their temperatures checked twice daily.

“Should an inmate(s) become symptomatic, he will be moved to a level-two quarantine zone within the facility where additional precautions and appropriate measures will be taken in accordance with CDC guidelines for COVID-19,” Rose said. “Inmates will not permitted to leave the level-two quarantine zone, unless movement is absolutely necessary.
Inmates who test positive for COVID-19 will be transitioned to level-three quarantine, which may include medical isolation among other inmates who tested positive.”

Dave Thomas, 66, a terminally ill man serving at St. Clair Correctional Facility, died April 16 after testing positive for coronavirus.

In addition to the inmate, one worker at Ventress Correctional Facility and another at Elmore Correctional Facility have tested positive for COVID-19 and have self-quarantined, the release states.

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As of Thursday, 13 state prison employees in nine facilities have confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to ADOC. Three of those employees have been cleared to return to work.

“The ADOC’s Office of Health Services (OHS) immediately initiated an investigation to determine which, if any, ADOC inmates or employees may have had direct, prolonged exposure to these two (2) staff members. Upon completing the appropriate follow-up interviews and due diligence, OHS will advise any exposed staff members to contact their healthcare provider and self-quarantine for the recommended 14-day period or as advised by their healthcare provider,” ADOC said in the release.

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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