In an era of social distancing prison is not the place you want to be. Although some of us may feel like prisoners in our own home because of the Stay-at-Home order, real prison is certainly worse. And in the case of highly contagious diseases, prison populations could be a keg full of dry powder ready to explode with cases.

Over the weekend an inmate at the Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex died from complications brought on by the COVID-19 virus. As of yesterday, there were ten coronavirus cases confirmed at the facility. Seven of those were identified as inmates and the other three were reported to be staffers.

In light of the recent death and diagnosis in the prison population, the Federal Bureau of Prisons released this statement:

Consistent with the surge in positive cases in Louisiana, there has been an uptick in suspected cases of COVID-19 at FCC Oakdale, LA (low-security component). The total inmate population at the facility is 980. In light of the number of tested positive cases at FCC Oakdale and at the request of local health authorities BOP is taking preventive measures for any inmate who presents COVID-19 symptoms. The facility is presently locked down commensurate with the community sustained transmission protocols, symptomatic inmates are isolated, and additional resources are being provided to manage all symptomatic inmates with appropriate care.

As is a typical practice in facilities with the sustained transmission of COVID-19, local health authorities have recommended against testing additional cases who present with COVID-19 symptoms in the Oakdale facility, but to presume they are COVID-19 positive. This action is in order to conserve valuable testing resources.