COVID-19 Update: Prison PPE, ODRC Update
Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio has provided more than 1.1 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Ohio’s state prisons.
- 108,000 N95 masks;
- 256,000 gloves;
- 684,000 procedure masks;
- 10,000 provider gowns; and
- 100,000 cloth masks for inmates
“This equipment is vital to the safety of our corrections staff and the inmates who they guard,” said Governor DeWine. “Our goal is to keep a 90-day supply of the most critical equipment.”
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Director Annette Chambers Smith participated in today’s daily briefing to provide an overview of the steps taken within Ohio’s state correction facilities to protect inmates and staff, as well as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.
ODRC has implemented several safeguards for inmates including increasing hygiene products and sanitation materials, offering cloth face coverings, and preventing intermingling between inmate cohorts.
Although ODRC’s inmate population is the lowest it has been since 2006, social distancing measures have also been implemented by expanding housing units into prison chapels and gyms. Additionally, the Ohio National Guard has constructed tents at two facilities to further separate inmates. Members of the Ohio National Guard are also assisting with staffing and health care.
Mass testing at the Marion Correctional Institution revealed that approximately 96 percent of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic, further demonstrating that individuals can spread the virus without knowing that they are infected. Mass testing also took place at the Pickaway Correctional Institution and the prison medical center in Columbus. ODRC plans to test inmates in all state prison facilities who are symptomatic, as well as those who are being released early or at the conclusion of their full sentences. Any inmates who have been granted early release and test positive for COVID-19 will not be released until medically cleared.
ODRC has surged an ample amount of PPE to facility staff, and staff members at high-risk locations have also been offered the use of hotel rooms instead of going home or for showering before returning to their families.