FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2020
Contact: FDC Communications
UPDATED - FDC PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: COVID-19
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) has no known cases of confirmed COVID-19 within its correctional institutions at this time.
At this time, FDC does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 within its correctional institutions. 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 Florida Department of Health (DOH) to quickly engage and resolve infectious disease outbreaks as soon as they occur. FDC is fully prepared to handle any potential cases of COVID-19 within the state operated correctional institutions in Florida.
- FDC has a plan in place and dedicated staff members trained in the prevention and containment of infectious diseases.
- FDC’s Office of Health Services coordinates with the Florida DOH for guidance on any type of outbreak and is closely monitoring new information as it is disseminated from Florida DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- FDC initiated its Incident Command System in response to COVID-19.
- FDC Community Corrections officers are working with offenders on supervision to adjust reporting schedules to minimize congregating at probation offices and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Following the State of Emergency issued in response to COVID-19 in Florida, FDC has suspended visitation at all correctional institutions statewide. See press release.
- The visitation suspension will be in effect through April 5, 2020. The decision to reinstate the normal visitation schedule will be evaluated in consultation with the Department of Health.
- Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation. Legal visits will not be impacted.
- FDC has partnered with vendors to provide some complimentary phone and video visitation services. See press release.
- Anyone entering a correctional institution will be screened, and entrance will be restricted if they:
- Have traveled internationally or on a cruise within the last 14 days.
- Have signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Have had contact with someone who has been or is under investigation for COVID-19.
- Outside inmate work squads have been restricted. FDC will continue to coordinate efforts with FDOT.
- All non-critical inmate transfers have been suspended.
- New commitments and intakes have been restricted.
- Volunteer activities have been suspended statewide.
- Education has been provided to staff, inmates and visitors to prevent the spread of any infectious disease, including COVID-19.
- Precautions are in place at facilities to protect inmates and staff from exposure to flu or any other respiratory illness; preventative measures are being followed per CDC recommendations.
Ensuring inmates incarcerated in Florida’s prisons receive all medically necessary medical and behavioral treatment is one of FDC’s core constitutional responsibilities. FDC assures an appropriate level of health care is provided to all inmates and FDC’s medical provider is held accountable for care in line with evolving national standards.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 94,000 inmates and supervises nearly 161,000 offenders in the community.