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State Tests Inmates at Five Prisons for COVID-19

photo of prison bars
The state so far has tested 17 inmates at five state prisons.

Four of 17 Ohio prison inmates from five facilities are in isolation pending results of COVID-19 tests. Thirteen of the 17 tested had negative results. The state plans to provide a daily update on testing in prisons and youth facilities.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio had asked for those daily numbers. Spokesman Gary Daniels says many people in overcrowded jails and prisons are vulnerable.

“A lot of people incarcerated already have health problems, too – existing health problems and some serious health problems," Daniels said. "And we’re worried about how coronavirus is going to affect them and will affect them."

Daniels said the concern is that COVID-19 could easily spread.

“We practice isolation, social isolation, social distancing. Good luck doing that in a prison or jail environment – it’s very difficult,” Daniels said.

Inmates were tested at the Dayton, Grafton, Lorain and Noble County institutions and the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.

Visitors were banned at prisons and jails early in the coronavirus crisis.

While some people at higher risk for COVID-19 are being released from jails, DeWine has said there are no plans to release inmates in prisons.