Visitation preparations Sussex Correctional Institution.jpg

Visitation preparations Sussex Correctional Institution

A third of the inmates at Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) are positive for COVID-19 after the entire population was proactively tested for the novel coronavirus, Delaware Department of Correction officials announced Monday.

As a result of the outbreak, in-person visitations have been suspended at the facility.  

Officials said only one in 10 individuals was symptomatic. Proactive monitoring of all 973 inmates began roughly two weeks ago when a cluster of inmates was identified as having the virus. Of those tested, 303 tested positive, while 288 remains asymptomatic. Twenty results remained pending.

“This infectious disease predominately hit three open dormitory-style housing units at SCI. While the number of inmates who have tested positive at SCI is a big number, 90% of the inmates have no symptoms. Our proactive testing is working to identify inmates and officers who may be silent spreaders of the virus,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said. "We have isolated the inmates with the illness in our COVID-19 Treatment Centers where they are receiving round-the-clock monitoring and care by medical professionals. We are taking extraordinary measures to protect and treat our inmates and staff and reduce the risk of new infections, including unprecedented relocation of inmates to different housing units at SCI and extensive specialized decontamination cleanings to contain further spread of the virus.”

Four of the 32 inmates showing symptoms of the virus have been hospitalized in stable condition. None have required a ventilator. 

Officials also said 21 officers from SCI have tested positive, and another 18 are self-quarantining while awaiting results. 

Additionally, 17 inmates at the Morris Community Corrections Center tested positive for COVID-19, believed to have originated from the transfer of three SCI inmates who had completed their Level V sentence. In-person visitations to MCCC have also been suspended.

There were no active COVID-19 cases at any of the remaining seven Level IV and V facilities, officials said.