Rikers Island is expecting a Coronavirus outbreak inside the prison after an inmate became the first test positive for the novel virus, the NY Post reports. This arrives hours after a correction officer inside of Rikers tested positive for COVID-19. At this point, it appears likely that we’ll see more cases inside of Rikers coming in the near future.
The president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, Elias Husamudeen, is asking the board to begin using “their contingency plans” in wake of the inmate’s positive test results. “This crisis will grow worse with each passing day. Give us the help we need now!” He said in a statement. He’s asking that the city give them new face masks that will protect the C.O’s from contracting the disease. Currently, they’re using N95 masks.
As the risks of contracting COVID-19 increase in New York City, the Union is currently requesting that no further inmates be brought into the prison facility because they might have been exposed to the disease.
Business Insider reports that inmates are actually at higher risks of contracting COVID-19 than most people. City officials, including Mayor De Blasio, are advocating for the release of a portion of the inmate population, especially those who have pre-existing conditions. Add to the fact that there’ve been numerous complaints surrounding sanitation at the prison and an outbreak appears to be on its way if officials don’t work quickly.