State inmate at Hamilton facility tests positive for COVID-19

HAMILTON - The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) confirmed late Wednesday, May 6, that an inmate incarcerated at Hamilton Aged & Infirmed (Hamilton A&I) in Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19. This represents the eighth confirmed case of COVID-19 among Alabama's state inmate population, four  of which remain active.

 The inmate, considered high-risk due to preexisting medical conditions, immediately was admitted to a local hospital after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, where he subsequently tested positive. He remains under the care of the local hospital. Upon discharge, the inmate will be transferred to Limestone Correctional Facility and placed in a negative airflow room in medical isolation until he recovers and is cleared by a healthcare provider.

 Upon completing a consultation with the State Medical Director at ADOC’s contracted health services provider, the decision was made to place the small dorm at Hamilton A&I in which this inmate was housed on level-two quarantine. Inmates on level-two quarantine are restricted to their designated housing area for all activities including meals, and additional precautions and measures will be taken in accordance with CDC guidelines for COVID-19. Inmates will not be permitted to leave their designated housing area while under level-two quarantine unless movement absolutely is necessary and appropriate personal protective equipment is utilized. The entire Hamilton A&I facility, except for the aforementioned dorm placed on a level-two quarantine, has been placed on a level-one quarantine. 

 The ADOC also was informed Wednesday via self-reporting that a staff member employed at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual promptly self-quarantined under the direction of his or her healthcare provider.

 The ADOC’s Office of Health Services (OHS) immediately initiated an investigation to determine which, if any, ADOC inmates or employees may have had direct, prolonged exposure to this staff member. Upon completing the appropriate follow-up interviews and due diligence, OHS will advise any exposed staff members to contact their healthcare providers and self-quarantine for the recommended 14-day period or as advised by their healthcare provider.

 This positive test represents the 17th self-reported case of COVID-19 among ADOC’s employees and contracted staff, 12 of which remain active. Five staff members who previously self-reported a positive test have been cleared by a medical provider to return to work.

The ADOC has been working with the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project (APAEP) through Auburn University to continue providing vital programming while adhering to social distancing guidelines. While formal programming and volunteer entry have been suspended, the APAEP has been developing weekly educational newsletters for distribution to students currently enrolled in the program, students formerly enrolled in the program,and inmates housed in ADOC’s mental health units. The newsletters include material appropriate for multiple levels of learners across math, science, arts, culture, history and social sciences, and include brain teasers, lateral thinking games, puzzles and trivia. We appreciate the APAEP’s dedication to providing continuing education for our inmate population during these unprecedented times.

 Finally, as the ADOC proudly celebrates our correctional staff this week in honor of National Correctional Officers Week, the Department also is honored to recognize our incredible nurses during National Nurses Week, which runs through May 12.