(WCMH) — Mass testing has led to more than 3,300 positive coronavirus cases at Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) prisons.
According to data released Monday afternoon, 1,950 inmates and 154 staff members have now tested positive at Marion Correctional Institution. Additionally, 1,163 inmates and 67 staff members tested positive at Pickaway Correctional Institution.
The state is also reporting the first inmate death from the virus at Marion Correctional. Six inmates have died at Pickaway Correctional.
ODRC reports a total of 3,614 positive tests, among staff and inmates, throughout all of its facilities.
An ODRC spokesperson says we are seeing this spike in cases at prisons because everyone tied to the facilities, even those who are asymptomatic, are being tested.
Marion Public Health Commissioner Traci Kinsler said she is concerned about the rising number of cases, among the prison staff.
“It’s definitely a concern that it could prompt an outbreak in the community,” she said.
Kinsler also told NBC4 that she and her team are keeping a close eye on those who do test positive.
“We’re monitoring them very closely,” she said. “We’re doing the contact tracing to see where they’ve been and where their family members have been. We’re monitoring their system to try to keep a handle on where it’s going to spread.”
Kinsler said the outbreak in the prison system proves the importance of social-distancing in the community.
“I think that it shows us all what happens if we wouldn’t have had the stay at home order — if we wouldn’t be social distancing,” she explained. “In that setting at the prison, they’re not able to do that and you can see how contagious it was and how fast it’s spread to pretty much everybody.”
According to the ODRC spokesperson, prison officials are working with law enforcement and the Ohio National Guard to ensure the safety of both inmates and staff at the facilities.