COVID-19 Impacts Steuben County Jail


CORNING, NY (WSKG) – The Steuben County Jail recently reported its first COVID-19 cases.

(Natalie Abruzzo/WSKG Public Media)

During the week of Christmas, four staff members and 21 inmates at the Steuben County Jail tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

According to officials, contact tracing is ongoing, but there was no specific incident tracked back to how the virus spread at the facility.

“Even with no visitation, there’s still new prisoners coming in, prisoners going out, coming back, returning,” said Steuben County Sheriff James Allard. “And even with quarantine, there’s no guarantee that either a staff member or an inmate didn’t bring it, transfer it to someone else.”

Initially, only those who showed symptoms of the virus were tested. Allard said staff were required to use proper PPE during their shifts, including N95 masks and gloves.

The jail separated positive COVID-19 inmates from exposed inmates and non-positive COVID-19 inmates throughout its seven housing units. That is per the recommendation of the jail’s healthcare provider, Prime Care Medical of New York, Inc. and the Steuben County Health Department.

As of Wednesday, there were 141 inmates housed at the jail with 100 full-time and 30 part-time jail staff.

Allard said that none of the part-time staff tested positive, but he did not say whether any part-time staff worked at the jail during the week of Christmas.

The Steuben County Health Department said it issued 200 to 300 rapid test kits to the jail.

The jail has administered 160 tests since Dec. 23.