Decatur work-release facility seeing massive COVID-19 outbreak

Over the last three weeks, more than 80 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19
Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 6:17 PM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The North Alabama Correctional Facility, also known as the Decatur work-release program, is experiencing a massive COVID-19 outbreak.

In the last three weeks, the Alabama Department of Corrections has reported more than 80 cases among inmates.

On October 14th, inmates and their family members reached out to WAFF 48 News regarding concerns of multiple COVID-19 cases at the Decatur Work Release facility on Highway 20.

That same day, 48 News reached out to the ADOC requesting positive COVID-19 case numbers.

Samantha Rose, the ADOC spokesperson, said 48 News had received misinformation and the facility was only reporting one positive case at the time.

Three weeks later, there are 81 active COVID-19 cases.

Rose says this is due to testing asymptomatic inmates inside the Decatur work-release program. In addition to positive inmates, 20 employees are also testing positive for the virus currently.

Rose says the facility is taking several measures including different quarantine levels depending on inmates' symptoms. She says a majority of the population at the facility who tested positive are asymptomatic and volunteered to be tested for COVID-19.

Rose continued saying the ADOC expanded its testing capabilities in September.

Rose says since October 14, the cases have in fact increased at the North Alabama Facility. However, it’s still unclear when testing actually started in this specific facility.

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