Saturday, February 4, 2023

Four Covid-19 cases identified among Pender inmates, measures taken to reduce spread

The Pender Correctional Institution. (Courtesy Google Earth)
An aerial view of the Pender Correctional Institution. (Courtesy Google Earth)

BURGAW — Health officials have identified four cases of Covid-19 at the Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw, causing the state’s Division of Prison Facilities to implement measures to contain and reduce the spread in the close confines of the prison facility.

Such measures include the provision of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to prison staff and the suspension of visitation and outside work assignments.

“Currently, the prison has four confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services director, said in a Tuesday afternoon release. “The prison medical staff is proactive and collaborating with the health department’s communicable disease staff.”

The prison facility is located approximately a half-mile to the northwest of downtown Burgaw.

The division is part of the N.C. Department of Public Safety, which is taking certain measures to control the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has been sweeping the globe since early February. According to Pender County, the actions prison officials have taken include:

  • A moratorium on accepting offenders from county jails;
  • Suspension of visitation and offender outside work assignments;
  • Medical screenings for all staff entering the prison;
  • Reducing offender interactions;
  • Providing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff.

“Confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Pender Correctional Institution are included in the Pender County case count,” Moser said. “The offenders are residents of Pender County and all tests results are recorded with the Pender County Health Department.”

Overall, Pender County has identified nine positive cases of the disease among 142 total tests administered, according to an update on the county website at 3:05 p.m. Tuesday. Six tests are pending.

The county noted that the state department’s priority during the pandemic is to focus on the safety and health of employees, those incarcerated, and the public.

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