COVID-19 cases soar among Florida prison workers

by

comment
IMAGE VIA NEWS SERVICE FLORIDA
  • Image via News Service Florida
The number of Florida correctional workers who had tested positive for COVID-19 climbed to 754 on Friday, according to data released by the state Department of Corrections.

The data showed an additional 132 correctional workers had tested positive for the disease since Monday. While workers at dozens of prisons have been diagnosed with COVID-19, a handful of prisons are experiencing a spike in cases among employees. For example, Dade Correctional Institution and South Florida Reception Center each had 84 worker cases as of Friday; South Bay Correctional Facility had 66; Homestead Correctional Institution had 39; and Everglades Correctional Institution had 35.



Corrections officials maintain no department employees have died from complications of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. But two employees of contractors who work with the department have died following positive COVID-19 test results, department spokeswoman Michelle Glady confirmed to The News Service of Florida last week.

As COVID-19 continues to spread in the prison system, the pandemic is exacerbating low staffing levels at prisons, according to Florida Police Benevolent Association Executive Director Matt Puckett.



In late June, the department reported 2,134 vacancies across the state. The number does not account for officers who are out on sick leave during the pandemic, Puckett said.

In addition to worker cases, the department on Friday reported that 2,497 inmates had tested positive for the virus. Twenty-nine inmates had died from complications of COVID-19 as of Friday, an uptick from 25 reported inmate deaths on Monday.

_
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.