Wisconsin prison doctor tests positive for coronavirus, 18 inmates quarantined: report

Wisconsin prison doctor tests positive for coronavirus, 18 inmates quarantined: report
© iStock

A doctor at a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin has tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to inmates being quarantined and prison medical workers sent home, according to a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Brian Foster, the warden of the Waupun Correctional Institution, sent an email to staff on Wednesday evening warning them that “an employee or client” at the facility had been infected.

Sources told the Journal Sentinel that it was a doctor who had recently traveled out of the country.

ADVERTISEMENT

The prison has implemented a new cleaning process, according to Foster.

“If you are not experiencing acute respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, difficult breathing) and are otherwise healthy, you do not need to take any additional action,” the letter states.

Wisconsin state Rep. Michael Schraa (R) wrote in a Facebook post that an estimated 18 inmates and 11 health care workers have been exposed.

The Hill has reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC) and Waupun Mayor Julie Nickel for more information.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week sent a letter to the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) requesting that prisoners who are vulnerable to coronavirus be released to prevent an outbreak in federal prisons.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that the Waupun prison is also reportedly 140 percent over capacity, holding more than 1,200 prisoners. It also has the worst staff shortage among the Wisconsin prison system, according to an internal report this month. 

WDOC suspended all visits to correctional inmates earlier this month, and phone calls have been limited to minimize the risk of the disease spreading. 

There have been 155 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health.