FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2020
Contact: FDC Communications
FDC Responds to COVID-19 at Columbia Correctional Institution
Additional measures taken to protect inmate population and staff
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On May 2, Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced new positive test results of COVID-19 within the inmate population at Columbia Correctional Institution Main Unit. FDC received positive results back for 24 inmates who were exposed to a COVID-19. Columbia CI Main Unit houses approximately 1,500 inmates.
All cases are contained to one housing unit. As the health care provider for inmates, FDC cannot provide any additional specifics regarding the unit in order to protect their protected health information. At this time, the dorm has been placed in medical isolation to prevent spread to the rest of the inmate population.
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:
- Columbia CI transitioned to providing all services including medical services and meals to inmates within the isolated dormitory.
- Institutional response teams have been activated to address emerging needs.
- FDC is coordinating with the county health department to initiate increased testing within the facility. All inmates within the affected dorm have been offered tests.
- All inmates within the affected dorm are being monitored by health services staff and temperature checks are being conducted throughout the day.
- 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 obtaining a surgical-grade mask from the institution.
- Rigorous cleaning throughout the institution was already in place and has been heightened as a result of the test results.
- Approximately 2,000 surgical-grade masks and 500 N95 masks were immediately sent to Columbia CI for proper PPE utilization by staff treating inmates. Additional masks are on standby for distribution if needed.
- All symptomatic inmates within the facility have been placed in medical isolation.
- Inmates within the facility have access to appropriate care and treatment.
- Inmate transfers to and from the facility have been temporarily suspended.
- Inmates continue to have access to the canteen through individual orders.
- 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.
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.