Nearly 40 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at St. Charles Parish prison


ST. CHARLES PARISH – On Monday, Sheriff Greg Champagne announced that a total of 39 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center over the last several days.

“Despite serious restrictive measures our staff has undertaken in the last four months, including the use of quarantine dorms for new arrestees, we have recently begun receiving positive test results within our inmate population”, Sheriff Champagne said. “The good news is that they are almost totally asymptomatic. The bad news is asymptomatic inmates are difficult to test and identify as having the invisible disease”.

During recent weeks, the medical staff at the Correctional Center recognized symptoms in some
of the inmates.

Inmates immediately began getting tested onsite, and the institute currently has received 39 positive test results so far. Additional inmates have also been tested, and are awaiting results of those tests.

“We are also making plans for follow up screening of inmates that have tested positive. Very few of the inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19 have actually demonstrated any of the CDC listed symptoms, with the overwhelming majority of the positive cases being asymptomatic. All are allowed ample time outside for exercise.”

Dr. Lawrence Durante, Medical Director at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility says “We have been coordinating with State Health Officials and have put plans into place that coincide with CDC guidelines to insure the safety of our inmates and staff. Each day, we continue to review procedures, adapt to any new CDC recommendations, and implement necessary changes. Deep cleaning of the housing dorms is occurring daily.”

Currently, all inmates that have tested positive have been isolated to a section of the Correctional
Center, away from all non-infected inmates, where they are receiving constant monitoring by the Correctional Center’s doctors and nurses.

The facility has several dormitories, which are separate from one another. This design allows the segregation of those inmates that have tested positive.

All other inmates at the Correctional Center are being closely monitored and continually screened for symptoms. Any inmates who develop advanced symptoms will be immediately transferred to a public hospital or Department of Corrections medical unit.

In an effort to reduce, any further spread, additional inmates are being tested for COVID-19 as well
as all new arrestees that come into the facility.


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