The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office issued an update Monday, April 20 on COVID-19 cases at the Orleans Justice Center, announcing that 32 additional inmates tests came back positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, more than doubling the number of positive inmate cases and bring the total to 56 as of Monday.

All positive inmates are medically segregated, jail officials say.

The OPSO report offered some positive news as well, with 99 inmate tests coming back negative over the weekend bringing the total number of negative cases to 173. Five inmates are being re-tested as a result of receiving invalid test results and one inmate has refused testing and is under quarantine, according to the report.

A total of 339 inmates have been tested so far. The results of 103 of these tests have not been received but are expected to return in coming days, according to an OPSO press release.

Also, among the details, OPSO reported that ten employees have fully recovered since testing positive, including one employee who returned to work Monday. However, last Thursday (April 16), the agency announced that one employee died of COVID-19 related illness.

In all 47 OPSO employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, representing a little more than 50 percent of the total 81 employees that have been tested. As of Monday(April 20), 21 of those jail workers tested negative and another 13 were still waiting on results.

OPSO officials say the situation has also remained relatively unchanged for the jail’s contracted medical provider, Wellpath. In all, 23 Wellpath employees have been tested, with 11 testing positives, 11 negatives and one who is awaiting results.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact New Orleans and Louisiana, the Orleans Justice Center as taken several steps as a part of a comprehensive plan to address the spread of the disease within its facilities. Those measures include suspending all inmate transportation to court;

implementing a  coronavirus screening process for all new arrestees, current inmates and anyone who enters OPSO facilities; daily temperature screenings and pulse oximeter screenings for all inmates and OPSO staff; suspending all non-essential visits to OPSO facilities; dispensing soap and other toiletries to inmates free of charge; and quarantining any affected individuals in segregated cells. This As an educational tool for inmates and staff, OPSO has produced a series of videos that is airing on televisions across the facilities. The videos focus on the severity of the outbreak and address how to identify signs and symptoms, ways to prevent the spread and employee protocol surrounding COVID-19.

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