More than 1,000 in Florida state prisons test positive for COVID-19

More than 1,000 persons incarcerated in Florida’s state prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 6,000 are currently in medical quarantine, according to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC).

Statewide in the prison system: 699 inmates are in security quarantine; 6,350 inmates in medical quarantine; 15 inmates are in medical isolation; 1,588 inmates have pending tests; 7,896 inmates had negative tests; 1,209 inmates had positive tests; 243 prison staff members had positive tests.

Coronavirus cases in correctional facilities in the Lake Okeechobee area include:

• Okeechobee Correctional Institution: 4 in security quarantine; 0 in medical quarantine; 0 in medical isolation; 0 pending tests; 4 negative tests; 0 positive tests for inmates; 2 positive tests for staff.

• South Bay Correctional Facility (operated by The GEO Group Inc.): 2 in security quarantine; 889 in medical quarantine; 3 in medical isolation; 296 pending tests; 652 negative tests; 106 positive tests for inmates; 50 positive tests for staff.

• Moore Haven Correctional Facility (operated by The GEO Group Inc.): 3 in security quarantine; 0 in medical quarantine; 0 in medical isolation; 0 pending tests; 2 negative tests; 0 positive tests for inmates; 1 positive test for staff.

In order to protect the personal health information of these individuals, FDC will not identify the name or occupation of the employees who test positive. Staff listed may be employed by FDC or one of its contractors. Any employee who is symptomatic, or who has tested positive for COVID-19, will not be allowed entry to a correctional institution. The employee will not be allowed to return to work until a full recovery is documented by a medical professional and Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines are followed.

Following the State of Emergency issued in response to COVID-19 in Florida, FDC has extended suspension of visitation at all correctional institutions statewide.

The visitation suspension will be in effect through June 7. The decision to reinstate the normal visitation schedule will be evaluated in consultation with public health experts.

Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation. Legal visits will not be impacted, although attorneys are encouraged to consult with their clients via phone, email or mail during this time.

According to the FDOH, there have been 10 COVID-19 related deaths in the state’s prisons with three at Sumter Correctional Institution and seven at Blackwater Correctional Facility, (operated by The GEO Group Inc.) in Santa Rosa County.

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