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Most Jurisdictions Report COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities

86 percent of 54 state and territorial health department jurisdictions have one or more COVID-19 cases

FRIDAY, May 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- At least one laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case has been reported in correctional and detention facilities in 86 percent of 54 state and territorial health department jurisdictions, according to research published in the May 6 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Megan Wallace, Dr.P.H., from the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response, and colleagues report on the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in correctional and detention facilities. Aggregate data on COVID-19 cases were reported to the CDC by 37 of 54 state and territorial health department jurisdictions during April 22 to 28, 2020.

The researchers found that at least one laboratory-confirmed case was reported by 86 percent of the jurisdictions from a total of 420 correctional and detention facilities. COVID-19 was diagnosed in 4,893 incarcerated or detained persons among those facilities and in 2,778 facility staff members; there were 88 and 15 deaths in incarcerated or detained persons and among staff members, respectively.

"Prompt identification of COVID-19 cases and consistent application of prevention measures are critical to protecting incarcerated and detained persons, correctional and detention facility staff members, and the communities to which they return," the authors write. "Additional data on COVID-19 in correctional and detention settings, particularly from facilities that have conducted broad-based testing, is needed to identify differences in disease risk based on demographic characteristics, underlying medical conditions, and type of correctional and detention setting, and to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation measure."

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