BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC) confirmed Friday, April 10 that a staff member at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola, has died from COVID-19-related complications.
Due to HIPAA restrictions and security concerns, the DOC will not release the name of the staff member.
This is the first reported death of a state prison staff member. Officials have reported 37 positive cases across all state prisons.
They have also reported 46 positive cases among the inmate population across all state prisons. They have not reported any COVID-19-related deaths of inmates.
DOC COVID-19 Mitigation:
- Activated DOC existing regulations regarding Influenza and Pandemic Prevention/Preparedness/Response to the highest level.
- Pursuant to the governing Department Regulation, every state prison has a thorough and detailed COVID-19 Pandemic response plan in place.
- Suspended Visitation, volunteering, tours, programming, transfers between prisons/ routine transfers from local level, and postponed the Angola spring rodeo all in effort to minimize movement.
- Limited Dining areas to servicing one dorm at a time.
- Limited Recreation space (outside and gymnasium) to one housing area using it at a time on rotational basis.
- Limited new intakes to only those who must be housed in state prison. Each intake is screened and assessed for symptoms, and then quarantined for 14 days before being placed in general population.
- Pardon and Parole Board has suspended hearings for March and part of April, but expects to resume parole hearings on April 15, 2020. Pardon hearings will resume at a later date.
- In order to reduce inmate’s risk of exposure, DOC work crews are working after hours to clean state buildings.
- Daily screening all DOC employees prior to entrance. Anyone entering Louisiana’s state-run prisons and DOC facilities, including employees and vendors, is subject to enhanced screening prior to entering. This includes answering screening questions and having their temperature taken.
- Ramped up daily disinfectant cleaning protocols at every prison facility.
- Commenced Reverse isolation process of older and high-risk inmates. Designated a separate housing/feeding location for reverse isolation. These inmates are also allowed into a recreation area reserved just for them to minimize their interaction with the rest of the facility.
- Issued inmate testing criteria guidelines to all state facilities (based upon LDH direction); any inmate exhibiting an influenza like illness (fever or fever and cough) shall be tested for COVID-19 and influenza. Obtained sample collection kits and transport directly to state lab when collected.
- Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all staff.
- Each facility has quarantine and Isolation capabilities which are being used as needed.
Officials added they have done things like required and ensured that ample hand sanitizer and soap are available at every state prison. They have also issued additional free bars of soap to inmates in state prisons and will continue to do so.
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