By July 14, at least 64,119 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 13 percent increase from the week before.
New cases among prisoners reached an all-time high this week after slowing down in June. The growth was driven by big jumps in prisoners testing positive in Texas, California, and the federal Bureau of Prisons as well as outbreaks in Idaho, Iowa, Oregon, and South Carolina.
Cases first peaked in late April, when states such as Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas began mass testing of prisoners. Those initiatives suggested that coronavirus had been circulating among people without symptoms in much greater numbers than previously known.
The first known COVID-19 death of a prisoner was in Georgia when Anthony Cheek died on March 26. Cheek, who was 49 years old, had been held in Lee State Prison near Albany, a hotspot for the disease. Since then, at least 680 other prisoners have died of coronavirus-related causes. By July 14, the total number of deaths had risen by 5 percent in a week.
0of coronavirus reported among prisoners. 40,528 prisoners have recovered.
0from coronavirus reported among prisoners.
While we know more about how prisoners are getting sick, another group of people is at risk in these facilities: correctional officers, nurses, chaplains, wardens and other workers. We know little about how coronavirus is affecting them, though they have the potential to carry it both into facilities and back out to their communities. It’s difficult to assess how prison workers are being affected because many aren’t being systematically tested.
In the most recent week, 18 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia—released information on the number of their staff members tested for coronavirus. Where we do know about positive cases, most state corrections departments stress that the count includes only the employees who voluntarily report a diagnosis, often in the course of calling out sick.
While more than 13,863 prison staff members have tested positive, only 47 deaths have been publicly reported. As with cases among prisoners, new staff cases this week are at their highest level since we began tracking this data.
0of coronavirus reported among prison staff. 8,439 staff have recovered.
0from coronavirus reported among prison staff.
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