Correctional officer tests positive for COVID-19 

April 4, 2020

A correctional officer who had worked at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3.

The officer last worked at Vaughn March 27 before experiencing flu-like symptoms the next day. The officer self-isolated at home and sought medical attention March 29, said Deputy Bureau Chief of Prisons Paul G. Shavack. 

The officer has continued to isolate at home since that time. Shavack said the officer’s positive COVID-19 test result was verified April 3. 

"DOC launched aggressive prevention and screening practices for COVID-19 before the virus entered our state, and as community spread has increased across Delaware, we have prepared for the increased risk of an infection by officers or inmates," said Department of Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis. "We already undertake comprehensive daily cleaning in all of our facilities, and that will continue with renewed urgency. I want to emphasize that at this time there is no evidence of transmission within James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. In response to this diagnosis, we will carefully monitor all officers, other employees and inmates at the facility for any symptoms and will immediately isolate, assess and treat any individual who demonstrates any sign of illness." 

For privacy protection, no additional information will be provided about the officer’s identity, she said.

On April 2, a healthcare worker assigned to New Castle County Community Corrections was diagnosed positive for COVID-19. That contract healthcare worker has not been in a DOC facility for 18 days – more than the 15-day incubation period of the illness – and has since recovered, Shavack said.

No inmate within Delaware's correctional system has tested positive for COVID-19, he said.

The DOC maintains robust COVID-19 screening and cleaning practices as part of an infectious disease management plan, Shavack said. All persons entering any DOC facility are screened for COVID-19, including a series of questions and a forehead temperature check with a digital thermometer. Staff who present with symptoms are sent home to self-quarantine and contact their healthcare provider in accordance with the established Delaware Department of Correction COVID-19 standard operating procedure. Newly arriving inmates to DOC facilities are isolated from the rest of the inmate population for 14 days while being monitored for symptoms of respiratory infection, he said.

Get the latest news and information about the DOC’s response to COVID-19 at and follow DOC at decorrection on Facebook and Twitter.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter