Measures continue to protect inmate population and staff
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On August 12, Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced new positive test results of COVID-19 within the inmate population at Suwannee Correctional Institution. FDC received positive results back for additional inmates who were exposed to a COVID-19. At this time, 721 inmates housed at Suwannee CI have tested positive for COVID-19. Suwannee CI houses approximately 1,950 inmates.
The great majority of inmates at Suwannee CI who have tested positive presented mild or no symptoms of the virus when they were tested. All inmates continue to be provided with on-going medical care and monitoring by facility health care professionals who follow CDC guidelines for the prevention, evaluation, treatment and management of COVID-19. Working in tandem with security staff, they are ensuring that inmates receive the care they need while still fulfilling FDC’s important public safety mission.
As the health care provider for inmates, FDC cannot provide additional specifics regarding the unit in order to protect their protected health information.
To keep Florida residents, inmates at the facility and visitors safe and aware about the status of the virus, FDC is issuing regular updates as information becomes available at www.dc.state.fl.us/comm/covid-19.html.
In addition to measures already in place to protect inmates, FDC initiated the following actions:
- Suwannee CI transitioned to providing all services including medical services and meals to inmates within their housing units.
- All inmates are being monitored by health services staff and temperature checks are being conducted daily.
- Institutional response teams have been activated to address emerging needs.
- FDC has initiated broad-based testing at the correctional institution. All inmates and staff at FWRC have been offered tests.
- All staff and inmates have been issued and are required to wear cloth face coverings. Staff have the option of wearing an FDC-provided cloth face covering, their own approved personal cloth face covering/medical-grade mask or obtaining a surgical-grade mask from the institution.
- Rigorous cleaning throughout the institution was already in place and has been heightened as a result of the test results.
- Additional surgical-grade masks, N95 masks and Tyvek suits are available for proper PPE utilization by staff treating inmates. Additional PPE’s to include eye protection, shoe covers, and caps are also available and additional supplies are on standby for distribution if needed.
- All inmates with a positive test result have been placed in medical isolation.
- Inmates within the facility are receiving to appropriate medical care and treatment of symptoms.
- Inmate transfers to and from the facility have been temporarily suspended.
- Inmates continue to have access to the canteen through individual orders.
- Inmates continue to have access to communication with family and loved ones through phone and JPay kiosks.
FDC is closely monitoring developments associated with the spread of this disease. FDC’s Office of Health Services, institutional medical staff and institutional operations staff work hand- in-hand with the Department of Health to quickly engage and resolve infectious disease outbreaks as soon as they occur.
Ensuring inmates incarcerated in Florida’s prisons receive an appropriate level of medical and behavioral treatment is one of FDC’s core constitutional responsibilities.