One of the phrases of the coronavirus pandemic that will likely stick with us for several generations is the term "Social Distancing". Most of us know that means being at least six feet apart. And in most cases, being six feet apart is easy to accomplish. Unless you're in a confined space, such as a prison facility.

Social distancing is just one of many concerns that families of inmates at the Allen Parish Correctional Center have regarding the health of their loved ones and COVID-19.

KPLC Television is reporting that 66 inmates have reportedly tested positive for the virus. 28 of those tested are showing symptoms while the other 38 are not. The facility has also reported that 15 staff members had tested for COVID-19 as well.

Family members of inmates are concerned that the 1,000 plus members of the prison population are not being cared for properly or virus mitigation techniques have not been properly employed.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections which runs that facility offered this response to those claims by family members.

We understand relatives’ concerns. The Department of Corrections (DOC) continues to follow Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols to maximize its response, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 

Early on, the DOC suspended visitation and volunteering, implemented screening of all DOC employees arriving for work, and ramped up disinfection of all state-run prisons. In addition, staff and inmates have been provided masks and soap, and sanitizer is available with the corrections officers.

The Department has issued uniform guidelines to all state-run prisons regarding medical isolation procedures for those infected and medical quarantine for those who have been exposed to the virus. These protocols are based upon CDC and LDH-issued guidelines to prison facilities, and have been in place since the beginning to prevent the spread of this virus.

At Allen Correctional Center, and as required in these guidelines, symptomatic COVID-19 inmates are housed in medical isolation, separate from those who are asymptomatic or those whose symptoms have significantly improved. All COVID-19 cases are actively monitored by medical professionals as recommended by the CDC.

That statement was provided by Ken Pastorick a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. In the last report from the Louisiana Department of Health, Allen Parish had 753 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have resulted in 14 deaths in the parish.