A COVID-19 outbreak inside a correctional facility affects not just the people in cells, but also the greater community, as corrections officers could potentially spread the virus after they leave work.
MONDAY, May 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Jails and prisons are hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19, endangering both the inmates held within as well as the wider community, public health experts warn.
The highly infectious virus easily passes from person to person, and prison conditions -- overcrowding with poor ventilation and shared living quarters -- make it even more likely that a COVID-19 outbreak can occur, said Dr. Alysse Wurcel, infectious diseases liaison for the Massachusetts Sheriff's Association.
"When you find a case in the jail, at that point it is pretty much everywhere," said Wurcel, an assistant professor of community medicine and public health at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
Experts say an outbreak inside a correctional facility is also a public health hazard for surrounding communities.
Corrections officers are regularly exposed during an inmate outbreak, and could potentially spread the virus once they leave work, Wurcel said.