Over 5,000 New York state prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic — yet there’s still no sign inmates will be vaccinated anytime soon.
As of Monday, 5,016 prisoners have contracted the coronavirus, with about 3,000 of those cases diagnosed over the last nine weeks, state data shows. While about 4,340 people in state custody have recovered from the virus, 30 have died from the disease.
The state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has tested the entire prison population of nearly 33,340 people, and continues to test people who are asymptomatic, officials said Monday.
The Corrections Department is working with the state’s Department of Health to come up with a vaccination plan, spokesman Thomas Mailey said. But for weeks the agency has declined to give any specifics about a rollout.
“We can’t really wait for them to come up with a plan for the vacation of incarcerated people. They are not going to do that any time soon, and we can assume that incarcerated men and women will be the last ones to get it... They don’t mean anything, that’s basically what they’re saying ,” said Jose Saldaña, the director of Release Aging People in Prison.
“We have no expectation that they will treat this as the health crisis that it is,” he added. “We’ve warned them this is only going to get worse — and it will get worse.”