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More Prison Workers Test Positive For COVID-19

barbed wire prison fence
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Thirty-seven corrections workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Florida Department of Corrections said Tuesday.

The latest count is an increase from 29 workers confirmed Monday by prison-system officials.

The employees work at 17 prison facilities and three probation offices.

Apalachee Correctional Institution in Jackson County had the most workers who had tested positive Tuesday, with seven. That was a jump of four cases within 24 hours.

Blackwater River Correctional Facility, a prison operated by The Geo Group Inc. through a state contract, is the only prison with confirmed COVID-19 cases within the inmate population.

Four inmates and five workers at the Santa Rosa County prison have been diagnosed with the respiratory disease, which is caused by the coronavirus.

“Blackwater River Correctional Facility staff are wearing personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of germs that could endanger inmates and staff,” according to a statement provided by Rose Hebert, a spokeswoman with the Department of Management Services, the agency that oversees private prison contracts.

As coronavirus spreads in Florida’s prison system, state officials have not revealed a tally of inmates who have been tested for COVID-19 or placed in medical isolation, despite numerous requests for the information from The News Service of Florida.

Inmates who experience symptoms indicative of COVID-19 are placed in medical isolation, pending Department of Health tests, according to a news release from the corrections department.