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Prison workers at Kilby, Tutwiler prisons test positive for COVID-19

An employee at the Kilby Correctional Facility and another worker at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections announced Monday. 

The two workers have self-quarantined and ADOC’s Office of Health Services is investigating whether any inmates or coworkers may have been exposed to the infected employee, ADOC said in a statement. 

“Upon completing the appropriate follow-up interviews and due diligence, OHS will advise any exposed staff members to contact their healthcare providers and self-quarantine for the recommended 14-day period, or as advised by their healthcare provider,” the statement reads. 

As of Monday, 19 prison workers have tested positive for coronavirus in 12 state prisons, two of whom work at Kilby prison. Five workers of those workers who have tested positive have since been cleared to return to work, according to the corrections department.

Nine inmates in seven state prisons have also tested positive for coronavirus, and 116 of the state’s approximately 22,000 inmates had been tested as of Monday, according to ADOC. 

After an inmate at the Hamilton Aged & Infirmed facility tested positive last week, ADOC placed the other inmates who were housed in the same room with the man on level two quarantine and tested them for the virus, ADOC said in a message to APR on May 7. Those test results came back negative, ADOC said Monday. 

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The remaining portions of Hamilton Aged & Infirmed were placed on level one quarantine, which means inmates are monitored for symptoms and have temperature checks twice daily. 

A worker at Hamilton Aged & Infirmed told APR last week that staff there are concerned that a correctional officer, who sat with a St. Clair Correctional Facility inmate at a local hospital who tested positive for coronavirus and later died, was forced to return back to work at the Hamilton facility without quarantining or being tested. 

ADOC in a response to APR last week said that all the officers that had contact with the inmate who tested positive and later died were themselves tested and all the tests came back negative. The Hamilton worker, however, said ADOC’s statement was untrue, and that the officer hasn’t been tested.

The Hamilton employee also said some correctional officers at the facility, which cares for older and sick inmates who are more susceptible to poor health outcomes and death from COVID-19, are required to work at St. Clair prison, which has had three inmates and one worker test positive for the virus.

Staff at Hamilton have expressed concern to prison administrators that doing so puts inmates and staff at Hamilton at risk from the virus, the employee told APR last week. 

“As of today, all inmates remanded to our custody have received a total of four (4) face masks produced at the factory plants at Holman Correctional Facility and Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women,” ADOC said in Monday’s statement. “While we have reached our initial production goal, the ADOC plans to continue face mask production in order to stockpile supplies for new intakes and to replace those that become worn or broken.”

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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