Coronavirus

DOCCS COVID-19 Report

DOCCS COVID-19 Report
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Regular Update

Notice Regarding Willard, Southport, Elmira & Greene Visitation

UPDATE - 
Visitation at the Willard Drug Treatment Campus will resume on November 21, 2020. 
 
At the present time, Southport Correctional Facility is located within an “orange” zone and currently meets the criteria for visitation to be temporarily suspended at this time.  
 
Unfortunately, as a result of the significant increase in COVID-19 infections among the incarcerated population at Greene and Elmira Correctional Facilities, effective October 21, 2020, at 3pm, visitation at the two facilities will temporarily be suspended until further notice.  We have also suspended all transfers in or out of the two facilities and programs at this time.
 
  The Department takes seriously its duty to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those that work and live in our correctional facilities.  During this difficult time, the Department is appreciative of everyone’s patience and understanding as we continue to face this virus together. Please continue to follow the safety protocols that have been put in place for everyone’s safety; namely, wear a mask, socially distance, wash hands frequently and timely report any illness.

 

DOCCS Updated Re-Opening Plan

 
As New York State begins to implement NY FORWARD, the Department’s greatest concern continues to be the health, safety and well-being of our employees, as well as everyone placed within our care, custody, and supervision, particularly during this ongoing and evolving public health emergency.  Toward that end, DOCCS has developed a comprehensive and gradual re-opening plan, that will follow the NY FORWARD guidance on a regional basis, while monitoring the NY FORWARD regional Control Center Process.

 

UPDATE - Effective October 30, 2020 at 3:00pm, due to the emergence of micro-clusters in different areas of the state and upticks in several facilities, we will modify our procedures to no longer allow for a brief embrace at the beginning and end of a visit. We recognize that visitation is a vital part of family reunification, however, we must also protect the safety and wellbeing of those that work and live in our correctional facilities. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

 

DOCCS UPDATED RE-OPENING PLAN FACTSHEET
 
UPDATE - Effective Wednesday, November 4, all travelers from out of state must follow the following guidelines prior to visiting an individual in a DOCCS correctional facility.

 

For those who have recently traveled out of state, or are coming from out of state to visit an individual in a DOCCS correctional facility, please click here to check the most up to date Travel Advisory list prior to visiting.

 

Click here to learn more about the newly launched mobile contact tracing app, COVID Alert NY. The app is voluntary and anonymous, and notifies users if they were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
 

November 21, 2020

 

DOCCS COVID-19 CONFIRMED

 

Staff

Incarcerated Population

Parolees

1676

1713*

122

*Of these confirmed cases, 1615 are now recovered and out of isolation.

 


 
DOCCS COVID-19 CONFIRMED DEATHS

 

Staff

Incarcerated Population

Parolees

5

18

4

NOTE: The official cause of death is determined and released by the County Medical Examiner's Office

DOCCS Confirmed Incarcerated Population By Facility

For security reasons, DOCCS is not disclosing information on the facility where those impacted work or are hospitalized.

With each confirmed case, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) works with the New York State Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus. 

The testing process is currently the same for those in prison as it is for those in the community. Our physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, working with our nurses, are following the guidance of the NYS Department of Health and incarcerated individuals are tested when exhibiting symptoms and after a medical evaluation is conducted. In addition, if an incarcerated individual is quarantined (mandatory or precautionary) and has shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness, or if facts and circumstances warrant, as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state and local department of health officials, they are also isolated and tested.

Our process identifies patients who are ill and require special monitoring and care and isolates those who create the greatest risk of transmission to others. Asymptomatic patients who wear a mask and follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines have minimal risk to others. A nurse will swab the individual and that swab is then sent to an authorized lab. As we await the results, the individual is isolated. If an individual’s test result is positive that person is maintained in isolation for a minimum of 14 days.

DOCCS CONFIRMED BY FACILITY

Preparedness

In its history, the Department has successfully managed infectious outbreaks, such as tuberculosis, AIDS, and Hepatitis C. DOCCS maintains a comprehensive Pandemic Flu protocol that has been modified for COVID-19.

DOCCS retains supplies, equipment and other resources that are being made available, as needed, for impacted correctional facilities during the spread of this infectious disease. As with the occurrence of any widespread public health threat, the Department is involved in ongoing discussions and preparations, including protocol review and emergency supply inventory to ensure that the Department’s policies and procedures are as up to date as possible. The Department also has negative air flow isolation rooms and Regional Medical Units.

Emergency control plans are in place at each facility and regularly reviewed.  Each plan is uniquely designed to meet that facility’s needs. These plans include preparedness measures, response mechanisms, and short- and long-term recovery provisions. The Department has been and continues conducting table-top exercises to prepare for additional positive cases.

The Department employs medical staff specially trained in infection control in facilities across the state and has plans for each facility to implement to deal with significant staff absences.

In addition, a COVID-19 Task Force has been created and meets regularly to monitor and assess all actions and potential actions in response to this public health crisis. The Department’s executive team has consistent communication with all Facility Supervising Superintendents, Superintendents, as well as Community Supervision Regional Directors and Assistant Regional Directors as a means of monitoring in real time all COVID-19 related issues that arise within the system. 

Ongoing communication is delivered to staff and incarcerated individuals on preventative measures to stay healthy, including the top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health recommendations, as well as cleaning guidelines issued by the New York State Office of General Services.

What DOCCS Is Doing

The Department takes the continued spread of this global health emergency seriously and shares the same concerns as staff, incarcerated individuals, and their loved ones.

Our focus is ensuring that the hardworking men and women of this Department, as well as our incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations, are healthy and safe. Just as we have successfully managed infectious outbreaks in the past, we have emergency protocols in place and have proactively made adjustments in our facilities and community supervision offices in an attempt to limit any outbreaks.

Each action we take in response to the spread of COVID-19 is done in the best interest of those who work and are incarcerated in our facilities or supervised in the community. We will continue to evaluate all options as this situation unfolds.

Here are some of the measures DOCCS has initiated to ensure the safety and well-being of staff, incarcerated individuals, and parolees:

  • Mandating all staff to wear face masks while on duty.
  • Supplying all incarcerated individuals with surgical-type masks.
  • Supplying incarcerated individuals subject to isolation and quarantine with surgical-type masks.
  • Effective September 14, 2020, intake from counties will increase to three (3) days per week.
  • Slowly resuming the internal movement and transfer of incarcerated individuals, on or about June 1, 2020, while instituting social distancing on transportation vehicles, with both staff and the incarcerated population required to wear masks.
  • Visitation within our institutions will resume on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, in maximum security facilities and in all other facilities, on Saturday, August 8, 2020.
  • Working with phone and tablet vendors to ensure continued access to some weekly free calls and secure messages for the incarcerated population
  • Expanding offerings to the incarcerated population through the general population tablet program.
  • Requiring non-essential staff to remain home. 
  • Implementing a health/travel questionnaire for staff entering facilities and community supervision offices.
  • Displaying posters with information on COVID-19 and safety tips throughout DOCCS facilities and offices statewide.
  • Regularly showing a video to the incarcerated population and staff at the facilities on proper handwashing.
  • Issuing enhanced cleaning/sanitizing measures and disinfecting procedures for office surfaces and devices consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health guidelines, including working with landlords to ensure cleaning protocols are followed under the appropriate guidelines with increased frequency throughout offices especially high-risk areas and issuing appropriate protocols on how to clean vehicles.
  • Suspending in-person reports of individuals under state community supervision through June 1, 2020, at which time the suspension will be reviewed for possible extension.
  • Suspending the ability for individuals under community supervision to transfer to other locations.
  • Releasing low-level technical parole violators from local jails.
  • Issuing hand sanitizer to all facilities for staff and the incarcerated population to use, as well as community supervision offices.
  • Enlisting Corcraft, an entity of DOCCS, to develop and bottle a 75% Isopropyl alcohol-based formula as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) at three facilities: Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County, Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, and Albion Correctional Facility in Orleans County.

New Protocols

 
FACILITIES

Masks
Effective April 9, 2020

To continue protecting staff and the incarcerated population from COVID-19 entering or leaving our facilities and community supervision offices, staff are permitted, and will be provided, a face mask to wear while on duty. The Department supports this use if there is a chance it may slow or even stop the spread of this virus from entering our facilities.

Incarcerated individuals subject to quarantine are issued a surgical-type mask to further reduce the risk of any secondary transmission of COVID-19. DOCCS gives the population surgical type masks plus two cloth masks, which have been donated.

 
Releases
Effective March 27, 2020

DOCCS was directed to release low-level technical parole violators from local jails. The Department immediately identified individuals under parole supervision who were detained in a local jail pursuant to a warrant resulting from an alleged technical violation, including absconders.

Following an individualized review, the Department began canceling parole warrants where the individual has identified adequate housing is available and the release of the individual does not present an undue risk to public safety. Based on initial estimates, this action could impact up to 1,100 people, including 400 people in New York City and 700 people throughout the rest of the state.

Furthermore, new procedures temporarily modified the issuance of violations to ensure that people who would be subject to release under these protocols are not detained in the first place.

This significant action is being taken in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in local jails over the past few days and weeks. Our top priority remains the public health and safety of New Yorkers during this global public health emergency and this measure will further protect a vulnerable population from contracting and transmitting this infectious disease.

 
Additional Phone and Tablet Services
Effective October 29, 2020

The Department continues with our phone and tablet vendor to provide continued access to some combination of free calls and secure messages each week. 

As a result of these discussions, the following free services will be extended through November 30, 2020:

  • Phone Calls - Each incarcerated individual will receive two (2) free calls per week up to 15 minutes per call.  Free calls are available beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday and are associated with the first two calls made during each week and do not carry forward from week to week.  Individuals serving a disciplinary confinement sanction will be provided access to the phone as per policy;
  • Secure Message Stamps - Each incarcerated individual with access to a general confinement tablet and kiosk will continue to receive two (2) free stamps to use for secure messaging per week (this is not available to individuals serving a disciplinary confinement sanction).  Stamps are added to the account on Friday afternoon and do not accumulate and replenish on a weekly basis based on use;
  • Free Pre-paid Reply Wednesdays - Every secure message sent by a friend or family member on Wednesday will be accompanied with a free pre-paid stamp that will allow the incarcerated individual to reply to the sender through Wednesday, November 25, 2020; and
  • Newsstand application - There is no change for this access. The previously enacted free one-month subscription to the Newsstand application has been extended for an additional month. The user must update their tablet to receive the Newsstand app and subscribe to the service before they can download updates.  Updates will be available daily via the kiosk.
 
Reunion Programs
Effective July 29, 2020

The Family Reunion Program will remain closed, but this will be periodically reevaluated with the intention to re-open in a gradual manner.

 
Legal Visits
Effective March 14, 2020

Legal visits will be conducted as non-contact as requests are submitted and that option remains available within the facilities.

 

COMMUNITY SUPERVISION

Community Supervision will take a phased-in approach to re-opening operations across the State. In accordance with the NY FORWARD guidance, we will allow the bureaus to begin re-opening on a regional basis consistent with the NY FORWARD regional Control Center process in regions that have been approved for Phase 2. Each bureau’s re-opening within an approved NY FORWARD designated region will be continually re-evaluated within each re-opening phase:

  • The bureaus will begin to take office reports incrementally in a multi-phased approach;
  • All staff and parolees will be required to wear a mask during the office reports; 
  • A scheduling system will be used for each bureau(s);
  • Each parolee will be scheduled at a rate of one per 30-minute block;
  • Report days will be increased, and report hours expanded, as needed, to minimize density;
  • Staff and parolee will wear a mask during in-person interviews;
  • Staff will monitor and screen all staff, visitors and parolees in accordance with current COVID-19 policy; and
  • Waiting rooms will be demarcated for social distancing.

 

BOARD OF PAROLE

Interviews

The Board of Parole is continuing to conduct interviews and issuing determinations. Decisions will continue to be issued within two weeks of the interview date.

 

COVID-19 Resources

For more information on COVID-19 and New York’s response, visit the following websites

 

New York on PAUSE

New York State is working to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a further protective measure, Governor Cuomo issued New York State on PAUSE, a 10-point policy to assure safety for everyone. It includes a directive for non-essential businesses statewide to close in-office personnel functions, a temporary ban on all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason, and steps to ensure the well-being of all New Yorkers.

NYS on pause

 
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker

Governor Cuomo has launched a new website to provide New York’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing data to the public

DOH COVID-19 Tracker

 
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Webpage

DOH Covid-19 info

 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Webpage

CDC COVID-19 INFO