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More than half the inmates in Florida prison test positive for COVID-19

At this time, the Florida Department of Corrections is reporting 1,216 inmates have tested positive.
Credit: AP

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. — A prison in northern Florida is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak with 1,216 inmates having tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced the Columbia Correctional Institution announced new positive cases Wednesday. With a population of approximately 2,200 inmates in the facility, the COVID-19 outbreak is spread among more than half of the inmates. 

“The great majority of inmates at Columbia CI who have tested positive are showing mild or no symptoms of the virus. For those that do require an elevated level of medical care, our health care professionals continue to go above and beyond to provide outstanding medical attention,” Secretary Mark Inch said.

Due to privacy restrictions, the FDC did not release details on what specific units were impacted. 

In response to the outbreak, the FDC said it has implemented the following measures: 

  • Providing all services including medical services and meals to inmates within their housing units.
  • All inmates are being monitored by health services staff and temperature checks are being conducted daily.
  • Institutional response teams have been activated to address emerging needs.
  • FDC has initiated broad-based testing at the correctional institution. All inmates and staff at Columbia CI have been offered tests.
  • All staff and inmates have been issued and are required to wear cloth face coverings. 
  • Rigorous cleaning throughout the institution was already in place and has been heightened as a result of the test results.
  • All inmates with a positive test result have been placed in medical isolation.
  • Inmate transfers to and from the facility have been temporarily suspended.

The FDC said it is closely monitoring developments associated with the spread of COVID-19.

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