The majority of offenders in the state prison system who tested positive for COVID-19 are now presumed to have recovered pursuant to guidance issued yesterday by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The N.C. Department of Public Safety reports, of the 642 individuals testing positive among eleven prison facilities, more than 500 have now met the DHHS and Centers for Disease Control criteria to be released from medical isolation.
“Staff have worked incredibly hard to contain this virus, to treat offenders who contracted it and to maintain order. I appreciate their hard work and am grateful that so many offenders have recovered,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons.
The majority of offenders (427) presumed to be recovered are housed at the Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro, where 467 offenders tested positive for the virus, most in a prison-wide testing operation from April 15-16. Over ninety percent of those individuals remained asymptomatic.
All the offenders at Bertie, Caledonia, and Pasquotank correctional institutions who tested positive for COVID-19 are now presumed to be recovered. In light of these recoveries, those facilities have returned to modified pandemic operations with continued staff screenings, isolation and quarantine protocols and offender movements designed to prevent the mixing of offenders from different housing units.
Of the 91 offenders who tested COVID-19 positive at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, more than 50 are now presumed recovered.
The North Carolina Division of Prisons has taken a substantial number of actions to prepare for the emergence of COVID-19 in the state prisons and to mitigate the chances it could spread within a facility or within the prison system.
Those actions, along with a chart updated daily on the number of offenders who have tested positive for COVID-19, can be found at https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/adult-correction/prisons/prisons-info-covid-19
That webpage will now include the number of offenders who are presumed recovered from the COVID-19 virus. The Department of Public Safety’s definition of presumed recovered is consistent with guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
“We are not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot,” said Ishee. “I am grateful for the hard work by our staff to continually disinfect our facilities, to make protective equipment, and to create and implement medical isolation, quarantine and offender movement protocols to better control this virus. We must remain vigilant.”
DHHS information on presumed to be recovered patients can be found online at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.