St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne announced today that over the last several days there have been a total of 39 inmates who have tested positive for coronavirus at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center.
“Despite serious restrictive measures our staff has undertaken in the last four months, including the use of quarantine dorms for new arrestees, we have recently begun receiving positive test results within our inmate population,” Champagne said. “The good news is that they are almost totally asymptomatic. The bad news is asymptomatic inmates are difficult to test and identify.”
During recent weeks, Champagne said the correctional center medical staff recognized symptoms in some inmates.
“Inmates immediately began getting tested onsite, and currently we have received thirty nine positive covid-19 test results,” he said. “Additional inmates have also been tested, and we are awaiting results of those tests. We are also making plans for follow up screening of inmates that have tested positive.”
Champagne said very few of the inmates who have tested positive for covid-19 have demonstrated any of the CDC listed symptoms, with the overwhelming majority of the positive cases being asymptomatic.
Dr. Lawrence Durante, medical director at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility, said he and his staff have been coordinating with state health officials and have put plans into place that coincide with CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of all inmates and staff.
“Each day, we continue to review procedures, adapt to any new CDC recommendations, and implement necessary changes,” Durante said. “Deep cleaning of the housing dorms is occurring daily.”
Champagne said all inmates who have tested positive have been isolated to a section of center, where they are receiving constant monitoring by doctors and nurses. He said any inmates who develop advanced symptoms will be immediately transferred to a public hospital or the Department of Corrections’ medical unit.
“In an effort to reduce any further spread, additional inmates are being tested for covid-19, as all new arrestees that come into the facility,” he said.