A correctional officer at Sussex Correctional Institution is the first positive COVID-19 case reported at the facility.
The officer was last on duty April 22, and after experiencing flu-like symptoms he self-isolated at home, said Jason Miller, Department of Correction spokesman. The officer sought further medical attention as his symptoms developed, and a positive COVID-19 result was verified April 28 by the DOC, Miller said.
There is a total of 35 correctional officers across the state who have tested positive for COVID-19, with two recoveries. Five of those officers worked at Sussex Community Corrections Center in Georgetown. Sixteen inmates at SCCC have tested positive for COVID-19.
Another 51 inmates from James T. Vaughn Correctional Center have tested positive, for a total of 67 inmates in the DOC system. Of the 67 total, 11 have recovered and 37 were asymptomatic, according to DOC statistics.
The latest recoveries come as DOC continues an intensive two-week operation to combat COVID-19 within the two facilities where positive inmate COVID cases have occurred, Miller said, building on the daily temperature checks and close monitoring of more than 1,750 inmates at these facilities. This targeted operation is concentrated in buildings at JTVCC and SCCC that have experienced COVID cases, he said.
DOC in partnership with the Delaware Division of Public Health is now using rapid COVID testing at JTVCC, Miller said. Although the number of rapid test kits remains limited, he said, the DOC is leveraging specialized on-site processing equipment to secure rapid testing results within 30 minutes.
“The use of rapid testing and results is one more tool we are using to quickly isolate and contain any new cases of COVID-19 in the state’s largest prison to prevent widespread contamination,” said DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis. “It is a comprehensive protocol of testing, twice-daily temperature checks, screenings, intensive cleanings and minimizing movement throughout the prison to stay one step ahead of this virus.”
An informational chart of positive COVID-19 cases among DOC employees, contracted staff and inmates for each DOC facility by clicking HERE.
The DOC is employing a variety of prevention, screening, cleaning and containment measures to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus, Miller said, including screening and quarantining new inmates, and requiring officers and healthcare workers to wear face masks.
In addition, Miller said, the DOC has temporarily suspended in-person prison programming to reduce the movement of people into facilities and movement of groups of people within facilities. Certain programs, including treatment and education programs and religious programming, are being transitioned to a virtual video format.