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Department of Correction announces results of COVID-19 testing at Montville prison

Montville — The Department of Correction said Tuesday that 152 out of the 962 inmates at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19 but are showing no symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The inmates who tested positive have been separated from the rest of the population, and staff are conducting enhanced monitoring of them with frequent temperature and vital sign checks, according to Karen Martucci, DOC director of external affairs.

"They feel fine, and most of them are surprised when told they are positive," she said.

The agency is conducting mass testing of inmates and staff at all of its facilities, with staff testing getting underway this week at Corrigan-Radgowski. All of the testing is voluntary, and Martucci said at Corrigan, where testing was conducted last week and results received Monday, there was 100% participation by inmates.

The positive tests at the prison complex at 986 Norwich-New London Turnpike in Uncasville brought the total number of confirmed cases within the town of Montville to 250 as of Tuesday, making it the southeastern Connecticut town with the highest number of cases.

Martucci said the DOC was pleased to see that only 16% of the Corrigan-Radgowski inmate population had tested positive for the virus. "We spoke with Ohio, which is 80% positive (systemwide)," she said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, DOC reported 792 inmates and 378 staff members statewide had tested positive for COVID-19, and six inmates have died. The department reported that 39 inmates with symptoms of the virus were being treated in a medical unit at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. DOC's website indicated 514 inmates had been medically cleared and returned to their units and 350 staff members have been medically cleared to return to work.

Martucci said DOC has been responding in accordance to public health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and, like everyone else, learning more about the virus every day.

The department said it has taken a number of steps to reduce the spread of the virus, including restricting visitors, isolating newly admitted inmates, conducting health checks on staff prior to their shifts, distributing masks and enhanced cleaning and sanitizing.

A committee has started planning for how to respond if there is, as predicted, a second wave of the virus in the fall.

State employees were granted 14 days of COVID-19 leave at the beginning of the pandemic to use for their own illness, to care for a family member with the virus or for child care. Those who already have used that leave are required to use their approved sick time for absences due to illness.

The DOC said last week it is continuing to recruit candidates to fill the positions left vacant by retiring staff members. A class of 133 new employees, most of them correction officers, recently graduated from the DOC's training academy and are on the job at various facilities throughout the state, according to Martucci.


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