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13 detainees and three staff test positive for COVID-19 at Wyatt

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The May 4 Wyatt Status Report, issued biweekly, now shows that 13 detainees and 3 members of the Wyatt staff are now testing positive for COVID-19. That’s a large increase from the numbers reported in the April 30 report, which listed nine detainees and one staff member as testing positive.

There is little in the two reports beyond the numbers to indicate if any additional measures are being taken at the Wyatt to minimize the impact of the pandemic, but the May 4 report does list the names and qualifications of the Wyatt’s medical personnel:

“The Facility’s Medical Director is Edward Blanchette, MD Dr Blanchette is Board Certified in Infectious Diseases and has over 40 years of medical experience, especially in the correctional setting. He has been Medical Director at the Facility since 2010. Prior to this, he was the Director of Health Services for the Connecticut Department of Corrections for over 20 years. That system had approximately 18,000 inmates throughout Dr Blanchette’s tenure there.

“The Facility’s Health Services Administrator and Certified Correctional Health Professional (CCHP) is Ronald LaBonte. He has over 25 years of service experience in health care within the correctional environment.

“The Facility’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurse is Holly Fernandes. Ms. Fernandes has been at the Facility for approximately 15 years.


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“Finally, the Facility has at least two registered nurses on site during first and second shifts, and at least one registered nurse on site during third shift.”

The April 30 report talks about some changes in the way new prisoners are quarantined in J-1 Pod and F-Pod.

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com