Ten Lake Erie Correctional Institution inmates, six employees have virus


By Brian Haytcher - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (TNS)



CONNEAUT — As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, the number of infected inmates at Lake Erie Correctional Institute continues to increase.

Ten inmates at Lake Erie Correctional Institute have tested positive for COVID-19, and are others are awaiting test results, according to information released on Friday by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Eleven inmates are in isolation at the prison.

Six prison employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to information from ODRC.

The inmates at Lake Erie Correctional Institute are quarantined to try to slow the spread of the virus, according to ODRC.

Lake Erie Correctional Institution is run by CoreCivic, a private company based in Tennessee.

While CoreCivic operates the prison, the company defers questions about inmates to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Inmates in isolation at Lake Erie Correctional Institute are held in either the infirmary or in an area away from other inmates, ODRC spokesperson JoEllen Smith wrote in an email.

A number of steps have been taken to make sure that inmates have access to the care that they need, Smith said.

Co-pays for medical visits for flu-like symptoms have been waived to encourage inmates to report any symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

Face masks have are allowed in prisons to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and CoreCivic has provided masks to all employees and inmates. CoreCivic has also instituted rigorous cleaning procedures in all of its facilities.

Surfaces that are touched frequently are being cleaned regularly, Smith said.

Visitation has been suspended by order of the Ohio Department of Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To allow inmates to remain in contact with their families, the ODRC has allowed inmates two free phone calls per week until May 17, Smith said.

“Engaging with loved ones is important and the Director has worked to expand the opportunities over the past year,” Smith said.

In-person visits will be allowed again as soon as it is safe to do so, Smith said.

CoreCivic also operates Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown, along with a number of other prisons throughout the country.

All but four of the state’s 28 prisons are quarantined.

However, there have still been significant outbreaks at a pair of prisons in Ohio. The ODRC took the step of testing every inmate at the Marion and Pickaway Correctional Institutions.

More than 2,000 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 at Marion Correctional Institution, at one point. Since then, more than 1,000 have recovered from the disease, according to information from ODRC.

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By Brian Haytcher

Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (TNS)

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