CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — Nearly 200 inmates and staff at Rhode Island’s state prison have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week, most of them in maximum security, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Of the 169 total cases, 147 inmates and staff at the Adult Correctional Institutions’ maximum-security unit at the state prison are newly infected. Several lower security units reported only one or two positive cases.
Movement has been modified in those units to mitigate the spread of the virus, prisons spokesman J.R. Ventura told The Providence Journal on Thursday.
“This protocol has proven effective managing the spread in previous instances of COVID-19,” Ventura wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page. “The safety of everyone inside our facilities is our top priority. We are working around the clock to make sure we keep everyone safe.”
The department did not divide the cases by inmates and staff.
Elsewhere in Rhode Island, hospitalizations are on the rise and nursing homes are reporting higher numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The state Department of Health on Thursday said there were 298 people in the state’s hospitals with the coronavirus, the highest single-day total since May 7. The department also reported 921 new confirmed cases of the disease and four more deaths, bringing the state death toll to 1,288.
Hospitals are at 97% of their COVID-19 capacity, Governor Gina Raimondo said during a press conference Thursday.
In the last two weeks, 25 nursing home facilities have seen new cases, an increase from the 17 facilities dealing with new cases during a comparable period ending Nov. 4, The Providence Journal reported. The total number of new cases in the last two weeks at nursing homes was at least 320, compared to less than 100 in the two weeks leading up to Nov. 4.
The rising number of cases in Rhode Island’s congregate care facilities are mirrored in facilities across the country and a national association for long-term care facilities is calling on Congress to provide more resources. About 70% of the state’s nearly 1,300 coronavirus-related deaths were residents of nursing homes, according to the state Department of Health.