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Coronavirus spreading in local prisons and jails

Oct 21, 2020 6:33 am
While local prisons and jails keep prisoners locked inside, keeping the COVID-19 outbreak behind closed doors is much more difficult. There are correctional officers and delivery workers mixing in the jails and the local community all the time. The current outbreak at Greene Correctional Facility, in fact, led to a student at the Scott M. Ellis Elementary School in Greenville contracting the virus, and temporarily closing the school, the Daily Mail reports. The Greene County Public Health Department reports that there are 65 COVID-19 cases related to the Greene Correctional Facility, as of Oct. 20. The Times Union reports several Rensselaer County Jail guards and prisoners are in quarantine as of Oct. 20 after possible exposures to a county correction officer who tested positive for COVID-19. And on Oct. 19 the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced the death of an incarcerated person at Fishkill Correctional Facility in Dutchess County, the Daily News reports. That was the first COVID-19-related death of a state prisoner since late July. In all, 18 inmates in state prisons have died from COVID-19 and five staffers and four state parolees. “These deaths could have been avoided had Governor Cuomo and DOCCS prioritized the release of people especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Stefen Short, Supervising Attorney with the Prisoners' Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society. Meanwhile, the Greenville elementary school has not said when it will reopen from the coronavirus case that came from the Coxsackie prison. “The problem is once it’s into the school, it’s a pretty hefty undertaking to do the contact tracing quickly,” Greene County Legislature Chairperson Patrick Linger said. “Kids come in contact with a lot of people.”