Arizona prison employees to wear cloth masks, department ordered to release more testing information

Arizona prison employees to wear cloth masks, department ordered to release more testing information
The department is recommending employees wear 'non-medical' masks on duty. (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry is recommending employees wear a non-medical cloth face covering while on duty.

The recommendation comes after the Trump administration urged Americans to cover their faces in public following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a press release, ADCRR said the recommendation includes employees reporting for duty across the department.

As of Friday, April 3, ADCRR said there are zero cases of COVID-19 in the system. So far, 39 inmates have tested negative and five tests are pending. The department did not release where the inmates were housed or any other information regarding the testing.

After requesting names, attorneys with the Prison Law Office filed a statement to the federal court asking Judge Roslyn O. Silver to order ADCRR to provide the names of their clients who are suspected to have COVID-19.

On April 2, Judge Silver issued an order instructing the department to provide the attorneys for incarcerated people the names of every person tested for COVID-19, as well as the results. In her order, Judge Silver identified the refusal to provide this information to the attorneys could reflect “Defendants’ failure to accept what may be a grave threat facing the prisoner population."

KOLD News 13 reached out to a spokesperson for ADCRR on Friday to see if inmates would be given cloth masks to wear to help slow the possible spread of the coronavrius. We have not yet heard back.

According to the press release from ADCRR, the department “continues to separate any inmates who exhibit flu-like symptoms from the general population for monitoring and appropriate follow-up care.”

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