State leaders address surge in COVID-19 cases at ECI
SOMERSET Co., Md. – Eastern Correctional Institution, Maryland’s largest prison, is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Robert Green, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said, “We’re monitoring 180 cases now that are quarantined.”
Green says the spike in cases started in early November, likely as a result of the virus spreading in the community.
“Around the first of November, we had a surge for us, 15 cases.”
The President of AFSCME Local 3478 Rownite Stevens says some prison staff are feeling scared because of the surge in cases.
She said, “Now all the sudden, the cases, they’ve spiked up. So everybody wants to know what’s going on. We’re just trying to be safe.”
Green insists they’re doing everything they can to stop the spread. That includes not allowing in person visits, putting those who test positive into quarantine areas, and frequently sanitizing areas in the prison.
“Routine cleaning, extra cleaning, we’ve engaged in some cleaning crews that come in and do the deep cleaning with the foggers and sprayers,” he said.
Green says they’ve also expanded recreational areas in the prison in an effort to allow inmates to socially distance.
The latest figures from the state show that ECI has had a total of 127 staff members and 620 inmates test positive. That’s a stark increase from Friday’s figures, where the state reported that 110 staff members and 287 inmates had tested positive. State leaders say that increase is a direct result of reporting errors. They say they hadn’t listed all of their recoveries online in the past, so the state updated their website on Tuesday with the correct numbers.
We’re told a team will be visiting ECI early next week to test all staff members at the prison. That testing will be taking place on Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday.