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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.

Dept. of Correction suspends work release program over COVID cases

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Department of Correction (DOC) is reporting new COVID-19 cases at one of its work release programs and the state has temporarily suspended the program in response. 

Officials say nine inmates at the Plummer Community Correction Center in Wilmington tested positive for COVID and one is symptomatic. All are part of the New Castle County Community Correction work release program. 

DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis says the individuals are all housed at the same facility apart from the general population and most work at the same place in the community. 

“A place in the community where several of these inmates work has a cluster of COVID-19 cases,” said DeMatteis. “So, our contact tracing has demonstrated that the offenders likely, in fact, did contract the virus while working and brought it back to the facility.”     

DeMatteis notes the DOC had gone seven straight weeks without a COVID case leading up to this latest outbreak. She says the cases were discovered as inmates in the work release program receive weekly tests and daily screening for COVID. 

She adds the state is trying to find jobs for the 15 or so inmates in the program to do while it is suspended.

“As we did during other periods where we temporarily suspended it, we look for jobs at the facility for offenders to do so they can continue to earn the work release credits and good time credits and money that they need to pay off court fines and court costs and complete their sentence,” said DeMatteis.    

And she says the work release program in Sussex County is not being suspended as there are no cases there.

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