COVID cases double among inmates

The Watertown Correctional Facility in Watertown. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The total number of COVID-19 cases reported among inmates in the five state prisons across Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties has more than doubled in the past week.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported Monday there are now 203 inmates infected with the virus in prisons within the two counties, a 107% increase from the prior week’s 98 cases.

The largest percentage increases occurred at Ogdensburg and Gouverneur correctional facilities. Last week, Ogdensburg reported its first inmate was positive for COVID-19. There are now 32 inmates reportedly infected. Gouverneur reported 58 positive inmates last week since the pandemic began, a number that’s climbed to 101 cases this week.

The number of reported cases at Watertown Correctional Facility also more than doubled in a week, from 13 cases last week to 32 cases this week. The prison on Dry Hill had reported just six positive cases the week prior.

The number of positive cases at Riverview Correctional Facility in Ogdensburg rose from 25 last week to 36 this week. Cape Vincent Correctional Facility saw its second case this week, up from the one case reported last week. There are currently 157 pending test results across the five prisons in the two counties, according to DOCCS.

Prisons in Franklin County fared better in the past week than those in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, although each reported an increase in the number of positive cases. Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone saw an increase of 16 cases, from 109 last week to 125 this week. Upstate Correctional Facility, Malone, saw three additional cases, from 23 last week to 26 this week, while Franklin Correctional Facility, also in Malone, saw its number of cases rise from three to six.

The number of cases at Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook, Essex County, remained unchanged at two.

Across all of the north country prisons, a total of 362 inmates have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a 127 case, or 54%, increase over the previous week.

DOCCS reports that 3,618 staff members statewide have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, up 376 cases. or 12%, from last week’s 3,242. DOCCS has repeatedly maintained that it won’t release the number of staff members having tested positive, or in quarantine, by facility out of concerns for safety.

The number of staff members who have died from the virus remained unchanged at six. Twenty-eight inmates have died from the virus, an increase of four deaths since last week.

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