Approximately 1,115 prisoners of the 1,236-total number of inmates at Goose Creek Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19. The correctional facility is located near Anchorage and reported its first case in November. Public health experts have called for the release of medically vulnerable and older inmates, people nearing the end of their sentences, and those who are low risk to the community.
According to The Guardian, prisons are high-risk for the transmission of contagious disease because social distancing is often impossible. Data from The Associated Press and The Marshall Project revealed that one in every five state and federal prisoners in America tested positive for COVID-19, which is four times higher than the rate for the general public. The number of cases reached their highest level in mid-December with more than 275,000 infected inmates and 1,700 deaths reported.
The striking spread of the virus through the Goose Creek prison illustrates how difficult it is to contain the virus in an enclosed correctional facility, according to Anchorage Daily News. ''We are pretty concerned about the numbers, especially the hospitalization given the lack of resources available in general for the community as whole,'' said Angela Hall, the founder of a Facebook support group for incarcerated people called Supporting Our Loved Ones.
Increased COVID-19 cases nationwide have caused medical crises in medical facilities that are geared to the general public, as well. According to The New York Times, the nation’s hospitals have been slammed with a staggering number of patients with no available beds and a dire shortage of doctors and nurses. This has also led to a dangerous increase in the number of hospitals that have had to turn away emergency or urgent care patients.
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