Update: Most Inmates Are Recovered Or Symptom-Free After Testing Positive For COVID-19


Nearly 75 percent of the inmates at Sussex Correctional Institution and Morris Community Corrections center who tested positive for coronavirus this month have already recovered.

According to the Delaware Department of Correction, the vast majority of the population that tested positive has not shown any symptoms.

Currently, 14 have symptoms of illness. A total of 263 tested positive.

A cluster of cases developed in a dorm-style housing unit at SCI, where nearly one-third of the inmates tested positive.

DOC continues with aggressive mitigation measures. All inmates have received masks. There are daily screenings, and voluntary testing has been offered to correctional officers and medical personnel at SCI.

The DOC released more information in the following statement Thursday.

DOC continues its aggressive COVID-19 mitigation efforts at SCI and MCCC, including:

  • Daily temperature checks, screenings for symptoms, and pulse oxygen level testing for inmates.
  • Follow-up testing is underway for inmates who initially tested negative.  65 follow-up tests have already been completed to-date.  
  • In-person visitation to all DOC facilities was suspended as a precaution.
  • Temporary suspension of programming in an effort to restrict movement across the facility.  Inmates are continuing to be provided recreation time, including in outside recreation areas.
  • Voluntary COVID-19 testing is being offered to officers and medical personnel at SCI, MCCC, and other DOC facilities.  
  • Additional deep cleanings are being conducted, including decontamination of housing units with specialized fogging machines.
  • SCI stopped accepting new commits on a temporary basis.

Currently across all correctional facilities, 54 DOC staff and healthcare contractors have tested positive for COVID-19, while 103 DOC staff and healthcare contractors assigned to DOC facilities have recovered from the illness.  No additional information will be provided about the identity of the inmates or staff members for privacy protection.

The DOC continues to employ a variety of prevention, screening, cleaning and containment measures to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus, including:

  • All persons, including Officers, administrative staff and probationers who enter any Level V prison, Level IV violation of probation or work release center, or Probation and Parole Office are screened for COVID-19, including a series of questions and a forehead temperature check with a thermometer
  • Staff who present with symptoms are sent home to self-quarantine and directed to contact their health care provider.
  • Newly arriving inmates are held in isolation for the first 14 days, during which they are carefully monitored, including daily temperature checks with a thermometer.
  • DOC has implemented extra daily cleaning of DOC facilities and is using specialized fogging machines to disinfect entire rooms of common areas, housing units and workspaces.
  • Face masks are being worn by Correctional Officers and contract healthcare workers as a protection for inmates, Officers and other employees.  All Correctional Officers have been wearing face masks since April 10.  
  • Face masks have been provided to every inmate at all Level V prison and Level IV work release and violation of probation facilities statewide, more than 4,300 in total.

Certain programs, including treatment and education programs and religious programming, have been transitioned to a virtual video format.  DOC has sped up implementation of new virtual video transmission capabilities across Level IV and Level V facilities to enable expanded medical and behavioral health telemedicine and inmate programming.

Inmates across Delaware’s correctional system continue to have outside recreation opportunities within their confined areas and continue to have access to phones to stay in regular contact with their loved ones. DOC is also expanding the use of electronic tablets among the inmate population, where available.