UPDATE: Coronvirus outbreak continues at Northpoint prison

UPDATE POSTED 3:45 P.M. DEC. 29, 2020

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state Department of Corrections said Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak at the Northpoint Training Center in Burgin in Boyle County continues with about half of the inmate population still active.

As of Tuesday, 837 inmates housed at NTC have tested positive with 188 recovered and 649 of those cases currently active, the state said. The number of active cases among inmates is down slightly from last week but the total who have tested positive has increased.

The total staff case number is 76 with 50 employees recovered and 26 currently active.

One staff member has passed away.

UPDATE, POSTED 11 A.M. TUESDAY, DEC. 22, 2020

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – About half of the inmates at the state’s Northpoint Training Center in Boyle County have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an update Tuesday from the state Department of Corrections.

“The Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) is monitoring this situation closely at Northpoint Training Center (NTC) and working in collaboration with the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Department for Public Health (DPH) to ensure that proper protocols are being followed to protect the justice-involved population, as well as correctional personnel,” spokesperson Lisa Lamb said in a statement in response to an inquiry from WTVQ ABC 36 News, which first reported the outbreak Monday. 

“As of today (Tuesday), 702 inmates housed at NTC have tested positive with 30 recovered and 672 of those cases currently active. The total staff case number is 62 with 38 employees recovered and 23 currently active. One staff member has passed away,” she continued. 

“The prison has taken numerous steps to ensure that positive inmates are isolated from the rest of the population. The prison has been separated into four distinct housing areas: 1) positive inmates, 2) negative inmates with direct exposure, 3) negative inmates with no exposure, and 4) medically vulnerable inmates. The separation is done in order to better manage and care for those inmates who have tested positive and to try and prevent the virus from spreading further.

“Staff and inmates have been educated on how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19, and how to prevent the spread of the virus through good personal hygiene, and social distancing. DOC remains committed to working diligently to minimize health risks and following the guidance from the CDC for Correctional and Detention Facilities. Medical staff are closely monitoring the inmates at Northpoint Training Center and those who are medically vulnerable are checked regularly throughout the day. All DOC facilities have enhanced sanitization and staff are medically screened upon entry. Cloth masks for inmates and staff were provided in early April and have been supplemented to ensure staff and inmates have a fresh one available at all times. Masks are mandatory for all staff and inmates,” she concluded.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 1 P.M. MONDAY, DEC. 21, 2020

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Department of Correction continues to struggle with containing the coronavirus inside its facilities with a third of the inmates at the Northpoint Training Center in Burgin in Boyle County infected, according to the department and inmates there.

As of Monday, the 1,200-inmate facility had 409 active cases among inmates with another 24 having recovered. The prison has another 15 active cases among staff with 37 staff having recovered, according to the department’s web site.

Statewide, the department has 61 active cases among staff and 560 among inmates, meaning a large percentage of the statewide total is at Northpoint.

Four other priwsons have double-digit active cases including 62 at the Correctional Institute for Women, 16 at the Kentucky State Reformatory, 24 at  the Little Sandy Correctional complex and 42 at the western Kentucky Correctional Complex.

According to inmates at Northpoint, inmates who test positive are separated into wings where they can be isolated from inmates who test positive.

According to inmate Cedric Pollard, who called WTVQ ABC 36 News, some inmates are sicker than others, with symptoms varying from congestion and low fevers to loss of taste and smell.

Others are more serious, according to Pollard.

“It’s crazy,” Pollard said of the situation, noting he worries whether inmates can be kept far enough apart to be able to adequately isolate them. “We all are worried, we want some help.”

The Department of Corrections received control of the property, consisting of 551 acres and approximately 50 structures, in January 1983.

Northpoint Training Center was initially conceived as a minimum-security institution for fewer than 500 inmates, but the mission rapidly changed to a medium-security institution with a proposed population of approximately 700 inmates, according to the facility’s web site.

Today, the institution operates as a medium-security institution with a current bed capacity of 1,256 inmates. The institution currently consists of 1,108 general population medium-security beds, 60 special management beds, and 40 minimum-security beds.

General population inmates are housed in six open-bay dormitories. Each dorm has four wings housing 50 inmates each. Inmates who test positive are moved into wings with other positive inmates, Pollard said.

It’s a procedure the department has used successfully to control the spread of the virus and get it under control at other prisons.

It generally has been successful.

Since the virus outbreaks began, the prison system has had a total of 3,430 cases, including 699 at the Lee Adjustment Center, which currently has only one inmate case, 548 at Little Sandy, which now has th 24 active cases, 533 at the Reformatory, which now has the 16 cases, and 328 at the women’s prison. It’s also had 368 at Green River, where the first major outbreak happened. No active cases are there now.

The system also has had 215 at Blackburn Correctional, 187 at Bell County Forestry Camp, 52 at the Roederer Correctional where six cases are active, and 66 at Western Kentucky, which has the 42 active cases.

The system also has had 502 total cases among staff.

At Northpoint, special management Unit inmates are housed in single cells in a 60-bed structure separated from the main compound.

The perimeter of the secure compound is a double 12-foot fence with razor wire on the bottom and top.

The inner perimeter fence has a sensor system that alerts the main control in the event of contact, 4 armed wall towers, an outside patrol, and a control center. Minimum-Security inmates, numbering approximately 40, are housed in 2 structures outside the secure perimeter.

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