Changes in Mississippi prison where Vermont inmates tested positive for COVID-19

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Changes are being made at a Mississippi prison where more than 200 Vermonters are being held. It comes as 85 Vermont inmates there tested positive for COVID-19. Our Dom Amato learned more about the plan and the possibility of some of them returning to Vermont.

This all started when six inmates who were brought back to Vermont from that facility tested positive once they arrived in Rutland. And now they may not be the only ones returning.

First, here's what we know:

-Some 85 Vermont inmates have tested positive, roughly 30 have tested negative and about 90 are still pending.

-They have all been moved within the facility and separated based on test results.

-All staffers at the Mississippi prison will be tested, too, as the Department of Corrections believes it was a staff member who brought the virus into the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility.

Commissioner Jim Baker says there have been talks about bringing the 53 inmates who are 60 and over back to Vermont, and even bringing home all 219 still housed there.

“Only if it was that simple. It’s not that simple because of the space at our facilities, especially in the environment we are in around COVID-19,” Baker said.

None of the inmates that have tested positive in Mississippi require a higher level of care than what is provided, and they are being screen for symptoms multiple times per day.

The Department of Corrections says although testing capacity is low in Mississippi, it plans to have the Vermont inmates tested as part of its rotating schedule of testing like they do in the six Vermont prisons. But going forward, officials are not sure where those testing kits will come from from the inmates in Mississippi.

Related Story:

85 Vermont inmates at Mississippi prison test positive for COVID-19

6 inmates returned to Vermont test positive for COVID-19

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