The city Department of Correction said on Wednesday that the number of inmates testing positive for coronavirus has jumped to 75, up from 52 reported on Tuesday.
The number of DOC employees with confirmed COVID-19 cases was 37, an increase of seven from Tuesday, the department said.
The department does not provide information on which facilities the cases were reported from, though the vast majority of inmates are held on Rikers Island.
With about 5,200 inmates in custody, DOC’s infection rate for prisoners is higher than the rest of the city, according to an analysis by the Legal Aid Society.
There are 14.5 infections per 1,000 inmates in city jails compared with about 2 per 1,000 people in New York City, which has more than 16,700 cases.
“COVID-19 is spreading rapidly at Rikers Island and other local jails, endangering our clients, correction staff and all of New York City,” said Tina Luongo of the The Legal Aid Society in a news release. “Based on this analysis, New York City jails have become the epicenter of COVID-19.”
Compared with federal and state lock-ups in New York, coronavirus has spread like wildfire.
On Wednesday, the federal Bureau of Prisons reported that two of its inmates in New York tested positive — one in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center and one in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported positive tests for 33 of its employees and three inmates. One of them is disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who began his 23-year sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County.
As the number of confirmed cases builds, attorneys with clients in city and federal facilities have filed motions in droves to get them released.
Legal Aid filed a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court demanding the release of 110 at-risk Rikers inmates who are being held on technical parole violations.
That’s on top of the 148 vulnerable inmates that Legal Aid said should be released from Rikers in a pair of Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuits filed in recent days.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the city plans to release 300 inmates and that his administration would review several hundred more in the coming days to determine if they could be set free.
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