UNCASVILLE, CT (WFSB) – Five Department of Correction offenders have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.
All five individuals have been isolated from the rest of the population and are receiving medical care.
To further limit the spread, the entire Willard-Cybulski facility has been placed on lockdown effective immediately.
The newly confirmed tests bring the total number of offenders statewide who have COVID-19 to seven.
Two inmates at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville have tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials said on Tuesday the offender is a 24-year-old male who is incarcerated at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville.
He began exhibiting symptoms on Thursday, March 26, and was removed and isolated from the rest of the facility's population.
On Monday, the DOC said a 32-year-old male offender also incarcerated at Corrigan-Radgowski had tested positive.
As soon as the offender had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, he was isolated from the rest of the population and then was placed in a negative pressure isolation room.
DOC says this negative pressure room allows for air to flow in, but not escape from the room, thus containing airborne contaminants within the room.
The names of the inmates are being withheld.
Officials said eight other offenders at Corrigan-Radgowski have been tested and they are awaiting results.
"To further limit the spread of the virus, and for the protection of the offender population, the Department of Correction has placed the entire Corrigan-Radgowski facility on lockdown status effective immediately. The Agency will continue to reassess the developing situation and revise its operational plans appropriately," a press release said.
Other offenders who were located in the same housing unit will be isolated from the rest of the population for 14 days.
All offenders in the vicinity of the infected inmate received temperature checks and are continued to be closely monitored.
Now, advocates are demanding the state release more inmates for their own protection.
Several other states have or are planning to release inmates who are lower safety risks but who face higher risks from COVID-19.
“They’re not designed to be health places, they are places of confinement,” said Melvin Medina, Public Policy and Advocacy Director for ACLU Connecticut.
The Department of Correction currently has tried to fast track those already eligible for release.
Connecticut prisons house 12,409 inmates on March 1 and that is down to 11,900 inmates by Monday.
This is the first time on 27 years the statewide prison population fell below 12,000.
The DOC also has other policies in place, including no outside visitors. Anyone entering the building must get a wellness check and all new inmates will be placed in self-isolation for 14 days.
The DOC also says it will continue disinfecting efforts with Commissioner Rollin Cook saying, “We are resolute in the belief that the Department’s mitigation efforts, along with the efforts of our incredible staff, will allow us to weather this storm.”
The advocates say they were worried about what happened at Rikers Island in New York where a positive test for an officer was announced March 18. As of Monday, that was up to 106 staff members and 160 inmates testing positive, with hundreds more in isolation.