NH Men’s Prison inmate tests positive for COVID-19

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New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord. Photo/Nancy West

CONCORD, NH – The state Department of Corrections reports that a male resident who was transferred from an out-of-state correctional facility to serve time owed in New Hampshire has tested positive for COVID-19.

This is the first positive test for a resident in the state Department of Corrections. Two residents in Strafford County House of Corrections have been reported as COVID-19 positive.

The sending facility told New Hampshire officials that they had positive cases of COVID-19 so the department took proactive measures and he was immediately brought to a health services single-observation room for a 14-day quarantine to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, according to a news release.

As a secondary precaution, medical staff administered a COVID-19 test prior to considering transfer to the population after the quarantine period was complete. On the evening of Tuesday, May 26, medical staff were informed that the COVID-19 test was confirmed positive.

Devon Chaffee, executive director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, said: “This is the third person in a NH correctional facility who has tested positive for COVID-19, and the first one at the men’s prison — all within two weeks.”

She commended the efforts that the Department of Corrections to protect their residents, including the steps taken in response to this case.

“At the same time, we reiterate our sincere concerns about the vulnerability of our correctional facilities to COVID-19, in part due to the traffic in and out of these facilities. We should be taking all steps possible to reduce this vulnerability, including further efforts to decarcerate,” Chaffee said.

The resident will remain in medical isolation until such time that he tests negative twice for COVID19 and can be safely transferred to a housing unit.
This resident was transferred by NHDOC staff who were in full personal protective equipment as recommended by CDC guidelines for correctional facilities during the transport, the news release said.

The resident has had no contact with other residents. Staff who have been in contact with the resident have donned full personal protective equipment prior to contact, the release said.