More Than 1,800 Inmates At Ohio Prison Test Positive For CCP Virus

April 20, 2020 Updated: April 20, 2020

More than 1,800 inmates at an Ohio correctional institution have tested positive for the CCP virus, state officials said April 19.

According to official data released by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), a total of 1,828 inmates at Marion Correctional Institution have tested positive, along with 109 staff members. Of the 1,828 cases, 38 are currently receiving treatment at an outside hospital, a spokesperson for the department said. A total of 667 inmates were being quarantined at the facility.

The jail houses roughly 2,500 inmates and suspended prison visitations in March to prevent the potential spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. No deaths of inmates at Marion Correctional have been reported so far.

ODRC said it has taken an “aggressive and unique approach to testing,” and has mass tested all staff and inmates at Marion Correctional Institution, the Pickaway Correctional Institution, and the Franklin Medical Center (which is Ohio’s medical facility for inmates).”

“Because we are testing everyone—including those who are not showing symptoms—we are getting positive test results on individuals who otherwise would have never been tested because they were asymptomatic,” the department said in its daily release of information.

“Also, our comprehensive testing approach of staff and inmates has assisted us in identifying asymptomatic individuals who have tested positive who can now be isolated from others in order to prevent further spread,” the statement said, adding that those individuals who test positive are placed in an area of the facility which is separate from the general population.

On April 8, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that one member of staff—corrections officer John Dawson at Marion Correctional had died. The 55-year-old had worked at the institution since 1996 and had underlying health conditions before he tested positive on March 30th, DeWine said in a statement on Twitter. He was the second officer to test positive in the Marion facility.

According to ODRC data, Pickaway Correctional has 384 prisoners who have tested positive, and the number of reported deaths has increased to five, with another death rated as probably due to the virus according to correction department statistics. The prison’s 1,614 other inmates are in quarantine and 64 staff members have also tested positive.

The Franklin Medical Center in Columbus has 103 inmate patients who have tested positive, and there have been five deaths and another probably due to the virus. The 393 other inmate patients there are in quarantine. Among the staff, 46 members have tested positive.

Overall, the state’s prison system has recorded 2,426 positive results among inmates, while 637 have tested negative, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said.

“Throughout our mass testing process, we have found many individuals who are testing positive for COVID-19 who are asymptomatic,” correction department spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told the Marion Star, adding that those who require additional care are being treated at hospitals near the prisons or at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The Ohio National Guard is also providing medic support at Pickaway Correctional and will be sent to help at Marion Correctional as well, Smith said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 11,292 confirmed cases of CCP virus in Ohio and 471 people have died from the disease, which originated in Wuhan, China, in December last year.