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Vaughn, other state prisons see rising COVID cases this week

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

COVID-19 cases in the state prison system continue to grow.

Dept. of Correction officials report Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna is seeing substantial spike.  Another 129 inmates across four buildings there have tested positive this week.

Vaughn now has a total of 174 cases, with 19 inmates showing symptoms.

Baylor women’s prison near New Castle has also seen an uptick in cases with another four positive tests there this week.  Baylor now has a total of 36 inmate cases, with 10 showing symptoms.

And DOC now reports Howard Young prison has a cluster of 8 cases – including one while symptoms.

"For the first time since COVID-19 reached Delaware, we have active inmate COVID cases at three separate facilities," said Commissioner Claire DeMatteis in a statement.  "More than 86% of the inmates who have tested positive have no symptoms and those with symptoms are mild. We are staying ahead of these clusters by identifying them proactively, quarantining inmates in COVID treatment centers at JTVCC, HRYCI and BWCI, and providing quality care to get the individuals better."

Sussex Community Corrections Center also has one case and there are two cases at Hazel Plant women’s treatment center.

In all, there are currently 227 inmate COVID cases across Delaware’s prison system. But DOC notes they are waiting on 250 test results as of Tuesday. 

Almost all current cases are being handled at DOC’s treatment centers at Vaughn, Baylor and Howard Young, though one inmate with underlying health conditions is hospitalized in stable condition.

DOC also reports a total of 43 cases among staff and contractors working at First State prison facilities statewide.

Delaware prisons have now seen 869 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.