Alabama Prisons

Fifth Inmate in Alabama Prison Tests Positive for COVID-19

St. Clair Correcrtional Facility (Source: Tom Gordon)

A fifth Alabama prison inmate has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the state Department of Corrections announced Thursday night. The inmate, who was at Bibb Correctional Facility in Brent, tested positive while being treated at a local hospital and is under care there, according to a corrections news release.

Before going to the hospital, the Bibb inmate was in the prison infirmary undergoing treatment “for a non-Covid medical condition,” the news release stated. After he tested positive for the virus, prison officials quarantined the other inmates housed in the infirmary. Officials will monitor the inmates closely for signs of the virus and take their temperatures twice a day.

Five inmates in the prison system have tested positive for the virus, but the Bibb inmate and another prisoner are the only two with active cases now. One of the five inmates died less than 24 hours after testing positive in early April. Dave Thomas, who was 66, was suffering from a terminal illness, officials said, and was housed at St. Clair Correctional Facility. An autopsy is pending to determine the exact cause of Thomas’ death.

In addition, 13 correctional officers or employees in the prison system have tested positive for the virus, and each of them self-reported — that is, alerted officials to health issues that led to their being tested.

“Three staff members who previously self-reported a positive test have been cleared by a medical provider to return to work,” according to Corrections.

The two most recent prison staffers to test positive were an employee at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton and a staffer at Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore.

“The ADOC’s Office of Health Services immediately initiated an investigation to determine which, if any, ADOC inmates or employees may have had direct, prolonged exposure to these two staff members,” the corrections news release stated. “Upon completing the appropriate follow-up interviews and due diligence, OHS will advise any exposed staff members to contact their healthcare provider and self-quarantine for the recommended 14-day period or as advised by their healthcare provider.”