Nearly 200 active cases of COVID-19 in Elmira Correctional Facility

New York News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — The Elmira Correctional Facility currently has 198 positive cases of COVID-19, the most among correctional facilities in western New York, according to the NYSCOPBA.

Among the four correctional facilities in western New York with positive cases (Elmira, Cayuga, Greene, and Clinton), there are 318 positive cases among inmates. Greene Correctional Facility is the second-largest cluster with 86 active cases, followed by Cayuga with 26 and Clinton with 11.

Elmira also has the largest number of positive staff cases with 24 active cases and 68 quarantined staff. Greene currently has 22 staff positives and 48 staff quarantine.

With mass COVID testing ongoing for Inmates in the Elmira area facilities we expect to see the numbers rise.

Mark DeBurgomaster
NYSCOPBA Western Region VP

On October 2 it was reported that there were four cases among inmates at Elmira. On Tuesday, Chemung County reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 with 153 active cases, 27 hospitalizations, 10 deaths, and 918 recoveries. Not all of the inmates may be listed as residents of Chemung County.

A spokesperson with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision sent the following information about the uptick of COVID-19 cases at the Elmira Correctional Facility.

On background: To date, there are 242 incarcerated individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Elmira, all of which are asymptomatic. Eight individuals have recovered, 319 have tested negative and 475 tests are pending.

DOCCS is in the midst of targeted testing of the entire incarcerated population in the state’s correctional facilities while continuing to follow science-based protocols established at the beginning of the pandemic. 

To date, we have COVID tested more than 23,500 incarcerated individuals. Our test results are regularly updated on the Department webpage.

This was publicly announced on Sept. 22 during the recent NYS Senate Standing Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections NYS Senate Standing Committee on Health COVID-19 Impact on Prisons and Jails – https://www.nysenate.gov/calendar/public-hearings/september-22-2020/joint-public-hearing-discuss-impact-covid-19-prisons-and

On background: Individuals displaying symptoms are immediately isolated and tested. If a positive case is confirmed, a contact trace is conducted and those identified are quarantined and tested. Any individual that is COVID-19 positive or in quarantine as part of a contact trace is not allowed a visit. It is critical that both staff and incarcerated individuals continue to follow the protocols in place, which include the mandatory use of masks for all staff, visitors and incarcerated individuals when participating in activities.

All state-ready individuals being moved from a county jail to a state correctional facility are tested and must be negative before being transferred to DOCCS custody. 

As Acting DOCCS Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci recently said in his testimony, “We continue to comply with CDC guidance, and in consultation with DOH, evaluate all options for additional testing as part of our multi-faceted response. The Department has continually expanded the pool of incarcerated individuals being tested, which include those incarcerated individuals who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, all incarcerated individuals who are quarantined as a result of a contact trace, as well as a variety of targeted testing cohorts.”

Additional information: In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order and DOH guidance, correction officers and other essential correctional facility workers, absent any symptoms, can request to be tested by their personal physician, or at one of the state’s testing sites. All staff identified as part of a contact trace are directed to quarantine and referred to their personal physician or a state testing site. The Department makes public the confirmed number of staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 and the confirmed number of staff deaths due to the virus.

Staff are screened daily for temperature; symptoms; contacts with a COVID-19 case;  recent positive tests; and travel to a state with significant community spread that requires a 14-day quarantine. Staff also continue to be provided with sufficient PPE.

On background: At this time, the Department is not transferring individuals into or out of Elmira.

Thomas Mailey
(DOCCS) 

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