Two OPSO employees die from COVID-19, while 68 additional employees test positive


Mackey and Duplessis

NEW ORLEANS – On Wednesday, Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Compliance Director Darnley R. Hodge released the following statement regarding ongoing health monitoring of inmates and OPSO staff and contractors, as well as established precautions at the Orleans Justice Center (OJC) related COVID-19 prevention and treatment:


“It is our sad duty to report that a second valued member of the OPSO staff has passed away as a result of contracting COVID-19. Lt. Garry P. Duplessis served OPSO for 27 years. His passing follows the death of Vanessa Mackey, an OPSO deputy who passed away on April 15 from contracting the virus. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and colleagues of these two members of our OPSO family. They will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all of us here at OPSO.

In their memory, a black wreath has been placed on a marked OPSO unit parked outside of the Orleans Justice Center. A wreath has also been placed at the entrance of the Orleans Justice Center (OJC).

As we mourn the passing of our colleagues, we are redoubling our efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, inmates and the surrounding community.

In the past 24 hours, two additional OPSO employees tested positive bringing the total number of positive cases to 70. Thirty-six employees tested negative bringing the total number of negative cases to 236. In total, 331 OPSO employees have been tested with 25 results still pending. As previously reported, 19 employees have return to work after recovering from COVID-19. An additional 39 have returned after receiving negative test results or following self-quarantine. 

In the past 24 hours, the report for OPSO’s contracted medical provider, Wellpath, has not changed. Of 13 employees that have tested positive, nine have recovered and returned to work. In total, 50 Wellpath employees have been tested. Of those tests, four positive cases remain, 36 have tested negative and one test is pending.

Out of our current active inmate count, one additional inmate received positive test results in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of positive cases to 125. Of the total positive cases, 88 are in OPSO custody and are medically segregated for the safety of themselves, other inmates and our staff. As previously reported, one of the inmates who tested positive was transported to a local hospital on April 21 due to a high fever. As of this report, his condition has continued to improve.

We are also pleased to report that 23 inmate tests came back negative in the past 24 hours bringing the total number of negative cases to 532. Currently, eight inmates have refused testing and are under quarantine.

In an effort to identify, contain and eliminate the virus from within our facilities, a total of 704 inmates have been tested to date. The results of 47 of these tests have not been received but are expected to return in coming days.

Our current inmate population is 818 with 733 at the Orleans Justice Center (OJC).”

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