Alabama correctional system working to curb spread of COVID-19

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Corrections is still struggling to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control for both its inmates and staff.

Most recently, Gov. Kay Ivey put into effect a supplemental state of emergency to help address the issue.

“The order yesterday was welcomed in it directs the department to put something on the table we believe it should have been put on the table long before now. When this pandemic started Sheriff’s could not stop the intake of inmates for 30 days while they got their plan together,” said Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama.

Many legislators, including Republican Senator Cam Ward, are taking a strong stance on safety concerns at correctional facilities.

“We now have a large population inside the prison, 27 inmates tested positive and 18 are active right now, so they are following the CDC guidelines and what CDC requires for correctional facilties, but I think we really need to increase the testing,” Ward said.

On Wednesday, ADOC released new information that six more staff members tested positive for the coronavirus with 80 cases considered active. Grandview Primary Care Dr. Michael Luther said increasing testing can pose its own unique challenges.

“Our systems prisons, schools, churches you have to think on more of a population scale and sometimes the need to test is not necessarily for that one person, but also for the needs for those around them and the local community. It is a closed system, so you can do all you can to control the in and out, but staff testing and inmate testing is something that is going to have to continue,” said Dr. Michael Luther of Grandview Primary Care.


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