After moving 32 inmates with COVID-19 from the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans to the Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury, the Vermont Department of Corrections is preparing for another spike in virus cases.
Northeast Correctional is currently the only Vermont prison operating as a ‘surge facility’, and is equipped to handle up to 80 inmates who have tested positive for the virus.
“We are now planning for a worst-case scenario,” said Jim Baker, interim DOC commissioner. “I’m talking about a major breakout in a facility where we get triple digit numbers.”
Since last week, 35 Northwest State Correctional inmates and 17 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Baker said transportinf the inmates to St. Johnsbury “took an enormous amount of coordination.
:We had pre-staged transportation vehicles as part of our strategy and we had pre-staged PPE for our staff and inmates, and that plan was executed flawlessly,” he said.
The Department of Corrections has also set up a new online portal for family and friends of inmates.