SOMERS, Conn. (WTNH) — Osborn Correctional Institution has been placed on lockdown after 105 asymptomatic inmates tested positive for coronavirus.
The Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) started testing all prisoners and staff within the facility on Wednesday, May 13. After two days of testing 617 offenders, 339 tests came back. Of those tests, 105 were positive.
DOC said a portion of the inmate population opted out of being tested. To be cautious, they will be treated as if they are asymptomatic carriers of the virus and will be isolated for 14 days.
Currently, 1,060 people are incarcerated within the facility.
“All offenders will be monitored and if anyone becomes symptomatic, they will be isolated, tested, and if positive transferred to the Medical Isolation Unit at the Northern Correctional Institution,” officials said in a release.
Testing for DOC staff from area facilities (Osborn, Northern, Robinson and Willard-Cybulski) started on May 13. So far, a total of 163 staff members have been tested – results are still pending.
To date, of the approximately 540 prisoners who tested positive and developed symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus, more than 430 have recovered.
“We are grateful to see the availability for mass testing become a reality. By testing everybody – staff as well as offenders, we are better able to protect everybody, those who are infected and those who are not.” said Commissioner Rollin Cook. “The hope is that no one who tests positive becomes symptomatic, but if they do we are prepared to care for them.”
Throughout the pandemic, loved ones of those incarcerated have protested their release.
Governor Ned Lamont said the state had released a lot of people who are close to the end of their sentences or who are ready for parole. By doing that, they have the lowest prison population numbers of incarceration since the early 90s.
“We have our entire reentry unit working on the complexities involved of running a prison during a pandemic to make sure they have appropriate supports,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Rollin Cook. “We will not approve discretionary release for anyone without a home plan.”