Ohio prisons director tests positive for coronavirus


By Andrew Welsh-Huggins - Associated Press



COLUMBUS (AP) — The director of Ohio’s prison system announced Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus, making her the first member of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s cabinet to contract COVID-19.

Annette Chambers-Smith told staff members that she received the results Monday after being tested Friday because she wasn’t feeling well.

Chambers-Smith has not been inside a prison since June 26 and hasn’t been in the office since July 21, said the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which oversees Ohio’s 46,000 inmates. The director is working from home and has mild symptoms, officials said.

“While I am focusing on my health and doing what is recommended—which is to monitor my symptoms and self-quarantine,” Chambers-Smith said, “I will continue to ensure DRC is taking all necessary steps and precautions to maintain the health and safety of all of our staff and incarcerated population.”

More than 5,000 Ohio inmates have tested positive to date, with nearly 90 inmate deaths.

In Ohio, cases have now been reported in nearly all prisons, but two account for the majority of cases: Pickaway Correctional Institution in central Ohio, which includes a medical wing, and Marion Correctional Institution in north-central Ohio, where virtually all inmates tested positive.

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Associated Press