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25 cases of COVID-19 at Sussex Correctional Center

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

After six weeks with no inmates testing positive for COVID-19 in any of the state's correctional facilities, the Delaware Department of Correction has announced it is tracking a new cluster of 25 positive cases in inmates at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown.

After three Sussex inmates week showed symptoms of COVID-19 infection and tested positive this week, the department initiated contact tracing and testing. As a result, an additional 22 inmates were found to have the coronavirus.

"This is why we continue to contact trace, proactively test, and closely monitor our inmate population as part of our comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation strategy to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus," Department of Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said.  

Twenty of the latest test results in Sussex came from rapid COVID testing employed by the department in collaboration with the Delaware Division of Public Health. Of the 25 current COVID-positive inmates across Delaware's correctional system, 17 are asymptomatic and 8 are symptomatic. Twenty-three have been transferred to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center's COVID-19 Treatment Center in Smyrna, while two are being treated in area hospitals and are in stable condition.

Contact tracing and proactive inmate testing are continuing in Sussex, including twice-daily temperature checks and screenings for more inmates in three housing areas. In addition, all Sussex inmates have been issued face masks. Additional deep cleanings, including decontamination with specialized fogging machines, are being conducted.

Voluntary COVID-19 testing is being offered to all Sussex Correctional Institution and Morris Community Corrections Center staff in recognition to prevent transmission from the community.

In-person visitation in Sussex has been suspended as a precaution to protect inmates and staff from transmission of the illness. In-person visitation had resumed earlier this week across DOC facilities and will continue at other facilities.

Nine department staff, across all department facilities, and one healthcare contractor have tested positive for COVID-19, while 87 have recovered from the illness. See an informational chart of COVID-19 recoveries and cases within the department here.