11 Ohio prisons under quarantine as COVID-19 spreads

Currently, 87 staff members and 47 inmates have tested positive for the novel coronavirus


By Eric Heisig
Advance Ohio Media

CLEVELAND — State officials said that nearly 15,000 inmates at 11 prisons in Ohio are under quarantine as the number of positive coronavirus cases among prisoners and staff continues to rise.

Forty-seven inmates have tested positive for the virus as of Saturday, along with 87 staff members, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

This photo was taken at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.
This photo was taken at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. (Photo/Eric Heisig of Cleveland.com via TNS)

Eighty-five inmates are also in isolation.

The prisons under quarantine include:

Gov. Mike DeWine’s office said Friday that corrections officials are moving to test every inmate at the Marion and Pickaway prisons, as well as the Franklin Medical Center. The state houses nearly 5,000 prisoners at the three facilities. The mass testing began Saturday.

Marion and Pickaway have seen the most coronavirus cases among Ohio’s 31 prisons. As of Saturday, 15 inmates and 47 staffers at Marion tested positive, including one employee who died earlier this week. At Pickaway, 23 inmates and 17 staffers were confirmed to have the virus.

The Franklin Medical Center, which is the prison system’s hospital, had 12 confirmed cases: two inmates and 10 staff members.

As of Saturday, 261 inmates have been tested. Forty-seven tests yielded negative results, while results from 167 tests were pending.

DeWine has recommended the release of more than 200 inmates serving time for non-violent crimes in the hopes of alleviating crowded prisons and keeping safe some inmates who have underlying health issues, are pregnant or are new mothers.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and other advocates, which has pushed jails and prisons in the state to reduce their populations say the governor needs to do much more to depopulate state prisons, which are over capacity and have populations totaling nearly 49,000.

They say the efforts from DeWine’s administration will barely make a dent in the population and not allow for more social distancing.

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©2020 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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