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New York State temporarily bans visitation in prisons due to COVID-19 cases



ROCHESTER, N.Y.  — New York State has temporarily suspended visitation at all state prisons due to rising COVID-19 cases among the incarcerated population, staff and the surrounding communities.

The suspension goes into effect on Wednesday at 3 p.m. According to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website, non-contact legal visits will still be allowed to continue under previously announced protocols.

In a statement, DOCCS said:

“The Department continues to work with our phone and tablet vendor as previously announced to ensure continued access to some free calls and secure messages each week. The Department will also make five free stamps available to the population for general correspondence.

We will continue to monitor the infection rates and resume visitation as soon as practical. We recognize that visitation is a vital part of family reunification and therefore, we will resume it when safe to do so.”

As of December 29, here are the COVID-19 positive cases within the prisons across the state:

  • Staff: 2957
  • Incarcerated population: 2945
  • Parolees: 168

Of these confirmed cases within the incarcerated population, 2156 are now recovered and out of isolation.

According to the DOCCS website, six staff members, 21 incarcerated individuals and four parolees have died from COVID-19 complications. However a note says the official cause of death is determined and release by the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

This is a developing story. Updates will be provided as they become available.