Prison Staffer In Swanton Diagnosed With COVID-19 | Off Message

Prison Staffer In Swanton Diagnosed With COVID-19


  • Michael Letour / CC BY-SA/
  • Northwest State Correctional Facility
A Department of Corrections employee at Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton has tested positive for the coronavirus, the department said Wednesday evening.

The staffer is Vermont's second prison employee to be diagnosed. No inmates have tested positive. Unlike the first case, which involved an administrative employee at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport, this staffer had some access to inmates, the department said in a press release.

The employee last worked inside the prison on March 25 and began showing COVID-19 symptoms on March 29.
State and federal guidance calls for quarantining anyone who had contact with a COVID-19 patient within 48 hours of showing symptoms.

"There was no contact within the facility in the 48-hour window," the Department of Corrections press release stated.

“My concern remains with the health and safety of our staff and the people in our care,” Interim Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker said in the release. “We are taking every effort to limit exposure.”

The Department of Corrections said it cleaned areas of the prison where the infected staff member worked.

Just under 200 inmates are housed at the Swanton prison, and 123 people work there.

The state's prisons, law enforcement and courts are facing increasing pressure to release inmates as a way to reduce the risk of a deadly prison outbreak.
On Wednesday, Attorney General T.J. Donovan issued nonbinding guidance intended to reduce "unnecessary incarceration." The recommendations came a day after state lawmakers scrapped a proposal that would have let judges reduce sentences during the public health emergency.
The number of inmates has dropped somewhat in recent weeks, to 1,463 on Wednesday.

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