Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

COVID-19 cases rising across First State prisons

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Department of Correction reports further spread of COVID-19 in the state prison system. 

DOC is now dealing with significant outbreaks at two facilities.

Officials say another 27 inmates at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna have tested positive, and the cases are no longer confined to a single building.

Vaughn now has a total of 45 cases across four buildings.

DOC is also seeing an outbreak of cases at Baylor Women’s prison near New Castle. The first case there was identified late Monday afternoon.  Further testing resulted in a total of 32 inmates in one building testing positive this week. They are the first cases Baylor has seen during the pandemic.

DOC also reports two cellmates at Howard Young prison have tested positive, along with one work release offender from Sussex Community Corrections Center.

"DOC redoubled our screening, prevention, and testing measures within our correctional system as community spread increased outside of DOC facilities and that effort paid off with early detection of clusters of infection at two prison facilities,” DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said in a statement.  “Over the past eight months the Department of Correction and our healthcare provider have learned how to effectively mitigate COVID-19 and we are working aggressively and methodically to eradicate these clusters of the virus from our facilities.  All inmates who have tested positive are receiving round-the-clock treatment, and our extensive screening, testing, and cleaning continues across every correctional facility.”

In all, there are currently 80 inmate COVID cases across Delaware’s prison system.  Almost all are now at DOC’s treatment centers at Vaughn and Baylor.  47 patients are asymptomatic.  None have been hospitalized.

Delaware prisons have now seen 642 inmate cases since the pandemic began in March, including 11 inmates deaths connected to the virus.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.