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58 inmates positive for COVID-19 at Sussex Correctional Institution

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Fifty-eight inmates at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown have tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, the Department of Correction announced three Sussex inmates had tested positive and began contact tracing to identify, isolate and test the potentially infected. After six weeks without a new coronavirus case in any of the state's correctional facilities, testing found 58 inmates infected in Sussex. They are the first cases to hit the Sussex institution since the pandemic began.

Of the 58 positive inmates, 48 are asymptomatic, 51 have been transferred to the department's COVID-19 treatment center at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, four are being treated at the Sussex infirmary and three are being treated in local hospitals.

All inmates were issued face masks and in-person visitation was suspended in Sussex last week, along with other measures taken to mitigate the spread. 

Now, the department is testing all Sussex inmates, about 900 of them, and temporarily suspending new prisoner intake.

All programming in Sussex has been suspended for one week to restrict movement across the facility, though inmates will continue to be provided recreation time, indoors and out.

In-person visitation has been temporarily suspended at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, in Wilmington, out of an abundance of caution after two contract healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19. Two additional healthcare contract workers at Baylor have COVID-19 test results pending. All Baylor inmates are being monitored, to include twice-daily temperature checks. Thus far, no Baylor inmates have tested positive for or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

More information about the Department of Correction's response to COVID-19 is available here.

Where will new inmates go?

"The DOC has sufficient capacity at other facilities to take in new inmates," said department chief of communications and community relations, Jason Miller.

The department reported a 10% reduction in the state's inmate population between March and May, driven by a 25% reduction in the pretrial detentioner population. In May, Delaware's jails and prisons were operating at 73% capacity.