First Federal Inmate Tests Positive For Coronavirus
Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, the largest detention system in the US, confirmed its first case of coronavirus.

USA Today reports that the inmate has been quarantined at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Officials have not released the person’s identity but shared that the inmate complained of chest pains March 16 after arriving at the detention center and was taken to an outside hospital three days later, where he tested positive for the virus. The prisoner was later discharged from the hospital and immediately placed in isolation.

This comes after 38 people across New York City jails, including Rikers Island, tested positive for COVID-19. Those who contracted the virus include inmates and staff members. In a letter to criminal justice leaders, Jacqueline Sherman, interim chairwoman of the Board of Corrections, also revealed that 58 more people were being monitored.

The Associated Press reports that there has been growing concern about the spread of coronavirus in US prisons, “More than 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States — more than anywhere in the world — and there are growing fears that an outbreak could spread rapidly through a vast network of federal and state prisons, county jails and detention centers.”

“It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” Sherman wrote to leaders. “The best path forward to protecting the community of people housed and working in the jails is to rapidly decrease the number of people housed and working in them.”

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as tips for taking care of yourselves, your families, and your communities.

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