First Coronavirus Case Detected Among Prisoners In The United States

Washington – An inmate at a federal prison in New York City tested positive for coronavirus, the first case among inmates of the federal prison system.

The inmate, who is at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, complained of chest pain Thursday, just days after his arrival at the facility, the Federal Prison Agency (BOP) told The Associated Press. The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was tested for COVID-19, according to authorities.

The inmate was released from the hospital on Thursday and returned to the prison, where he was immediately placed in isolation, according to the agency. The BOP learned on Saturday that the inmate was found to have the disease.


The inmate remains isolated from the rest of the prison population on Saturday, although he is routinely visited by medical and psychiatric personnel, authorities said.

The confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in the BOP system occurs at a time when jails and prisons across the country are taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Health authorities have warned for more than a decade about the dangers of outbreaks in prisons, which are ideal environments for viruses: prisoners share small cells with strangers, use toilets located a short distance from their beds, and are driven in a massive way to the common areas, where they spend hours together.

Authorities report two cases of the infected among BOP staff: one employee who works in an administrative office in Grand Prairie, Texas, and another employee in Leavenworth, Kansas, although officials say that neither had had contact with inmates since they began to show symptoms.

The Prisons Office has temporarily suspended visits to all 122 federal prisons in the United States, covering both social and legal visits, although authorities have said there could be exemptions for visits for legal reasons.