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For Immediate Release March 29, 2020
Contact: JoEllen Smith, JoEllen.Smith@odrc.state.oh.us
DRC Confirms Positive COVID-19 Test Result of Correctional Staff Member at Marion Correctional Institution
(Marion) – Today the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) confirmed a staff member from the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) has tested positive for COVID-19. This employee last worked at the facility on Tuesday, March 24 and reported feeling symptomatic on Wednesday, March 25. This individual received a positive test confirmation today and immediately reported it to the facility.
DRC will continue to work closely with the Ohio Department of Health and the local health department. A contact tracing investigation is underway and there will be no staff or inmate transfers in or out of the facility at this time. MCI is operating under modified movement. As the situation evolves, other operational changes may be necessary and will be done while maintaining the safety and security of our staff and incarcerated population.
“We have worked for several weeks implementing changes within our operations to address the challenges presented by COVID-19,” stated DRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith. “Each facility has unique plans in place that address this specific situation. Our staff member is at home recovering and we will continue to work tirelessly to keep our staff and incarcerated individuals safe and healthy.”
DRC has implemented a number of measures to address the operational challenges presented with COVID-19, including limiting access to our facilities to only necessary employees and contractors who are subject to a mandatory health screening before entering our facilities. In addition, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be permitted within the facilities, a staff text messaging system was implemented to allow staff to check in with their families during their shift since personal cell phones are not permitted, and transfers are limited to only those that are mission critical.
DRC cares about the safety and health of our staff, incarcerated adults and their loved ones. Because of this we are putting several safety measures in place within our facilities as we prepare for the potential operational impact of COVID-19. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, but it is absolutely necessary to protect all Ohioans as best as we can. These safety measures include:
1. Visiting will be suspended indefinitely;
2. Volunteers entering our facilities will be suspended indefinitely;
3. Only mission critical contractors (construction, medical, food service, etc.) will be permitted to enter the facilities. Mission critical will be determined by the managing officer;
4. Staff, mission critical contractors, and attorney health screenings will begin upon entry into the facilities;
5. No outside inmate workers will be in the community; inmate workers will only be permitted on state grounds;
6. Only mission critical transfers will take place. Reception, medical, and security are mission critical.
7. In-service training will be changed to mission critical only.
8. CTA trainings will only be mission critical and those necessary for staff to maintain their positions/certifications/licensures.