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Five corrections workers in four state prisons test positive for Covid-19

Jan 8 2021, 5:13 PM

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Five more correctional staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 across four different Vermont prisons.

Mike Smith, head of the Vermont Agency of Human Services, disclosed the situation Friday at the state’s twice-weekly coronavirus briefing.  

He said four of the facilities are on “modified” lockdown: Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport, Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans, Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, and Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, the state’s only women’s prison, in South Burlington.

Single Covid-19 ases come from the prisons in South Burlington, Newport and St. Albans. Two staff cases are reported at the Springfield facility.

The fifth, Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland, has been placed on a “full” lockdown while awaiting results from a “presumed” positive case, Smith said.

Since March, according to the corrections department, a total of 38 correctional staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Rachel Feldman, a spokesperson for the corrections department, said a “modified” lockdown allows for “cohorting in groups that allow for social distancing, given the space available.”  In a full lockdown, Feldman said, movements are more restricted, with meals and medications brought to prisoners in their cells.

No prisoners are currently positive for Covid-19, according to Feldman.

Since the outbreak, 58 prisoners have tested positive in Vemont’s prisons since March, including more than 40 during an outbreak in late March and April at the St. Albans prison. 

Also, 185 inmates from Vermont held at a prison in Mississippi have tested positive for Covid-19 since last spring.

— Alan J. Keays 

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