Florida Department of Corrections Responds to COVID-19 at Liberty Correctional Institution

Additional measures taken to protect inmate population and staff

TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News) On May 7, Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced new COVID-19 positive test results within the inmate population at Liberty Correctional Institution Main Unit.  FDC received positive results back for 101 inmates who were exposed to COVID-19 at Liberty CI.  The total number of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Liberty CI as of May 8 is 183.  Liberty CI Main Unit Houses 1,363 inmates.

Approximately 139 inmates were transferred from Liberty CI to Northwest Florida Reception Center (NWFRC).  These inmates are asymptomatic and tested negative for COVID-19.  Transferred inmates are in medical quarantine and will remain separated from other inmates at NWFRC for at least 14 days and will be actively monitored for symptoms.  Ensuring Liberty CI had additional capacity and flex space was critical to the continued safe operation of the facility.  This will also allow for additional infectious disease mitigation.

To keep Florida residents, inmates at the facility and visitors safe and aware about the status of the virus, FDC is issuing regular updates as information becomes available at www.dc.state.fl.us/comm/covid-19.html.

In addition to measures already in place to protect inmates, FDC initiated the following actions:

  1. Liberty CI transitioned to providing all services, including medical services and meals, to inmates within their dormitories.
  2. Institutional response teams have been activated to address emerging needs.
  3. FDC coordinated with the county health department to initiate increased testing within the facility.  All inmates were offered tests.
  4. All inmates and staff were offered testing at Liberty Main Unit and the satellite facilities of Liberty South Unit and Quincy Annex.
  5. All inmates are being monitored by health services staff and temperature checks are being conducted throughout the day.
  6. All staff and inmates were issued and are required to wear cloth face coverings.  Staff have the option of wearing an FDC-provided cloth face covering, their own approved personal cloth face covering/medical-grade mask or a surgical-grade mask.
  7. Rigorous cleaning throughout the institution was in place and has been heightened as a result of the test results.
  8. In addition to stock already on hand, approximately 17,000 surgical-grade masks, 4,120 N95 masks and 90 Tyvek suits were immediately sent to Liberty CI for proper PPE utilization by staff treating inmates.  Additional PPE’s to include eye protection, shoe covers and caps were also sent and additional supplies are on standby for distribution if needed.
  9. All symptomatic inmates within the facility have been placed in medical isolation.
  10. Inmates within the facility have access to appropriate care and treatment.
  11. Inmate transfers to and from the facility have been temporarily suspended.
  12. All inmate movement within the facility has been restricted.
  13. Inmates continue to have access to the canteen through individual orders.
  14. Inmates continue to have access to communication with family and loved ones through phone and JPay kiosks.

FDC is closely monitoring developments associated with the spread of this disease.  FDC’s Office of Health Services, institutional medical staff and institutional operations staff work hand- in-hand with the Department of Health to quickly engage and resolve infectious disease outbreaks as soon as they occur.

FDC is committed to ensuring inmates receive appropriate medical care that is in line with evolving national standards for correctional institutions.  FDC has a constitutional mandate to provide health care for all inmates incarcerated in Florida’s prisons.

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