On Friday, officials with the Livingston County Health Center and Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC) released a statement to clear misconceptions about COVID-19 counting and cases in Livingston County and the correctional center.
Sherry Weldon, administrator of the Livingston County Health Department said, “The health center bases its count on notifications from the Missouri Department of Health and
Senior Services. No cases are entered unless an official notification has been received. Contact
tracing is then done on each case to determine close contacts and instruct them to self-isolate for 14 days.”
As of Friday afternoon, the current count of positive cases in the county was 27, with eight active cases and 19 removed from isolation.
Chillicothe Correctional Center receives testing results through Corizon Health, which provides
nursing and healthcare services for inmates and offenders. Corizon staff then forwards the
positive notifications to the health center. Corrections officers and staff are added to the daily
count, while inmates are kept separately, due to being a population separate from the public.
Corizon and CCC staff do contact tracing of positive cases within the inmate population.
As of 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Deputy Warden of Operations Ryan Coffman reports the prison had received 189 positive notifications of COVID-19 in the inmate population and nine positives from staff. Staff members of CCC that live in the county are included in the Health Center count. Those that live in other counties are noted in their county of residence.
As a normal part of operations, CCC has been monitoring housing units for symptoms of COVID-19 then testing and isolating the entire unit in place, to contain the spread of the virus. Masks are now required everywhere in the facility where social distancing cannot be maintained. Other precautions such as disinfecting and routine screening are also being followed by the facility.
Weldon submitted two cluster reports of cases at CCC to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service. The State Department of Health & Senior Services and the Department of Corrections enter data on their individual dashboards, which are both available to the public. That information being added to the dashboard is often not in sync and has caused confusion.
“We just want the public to know that we take reporting the current situation of this virus in
Livingston County very seriously, and are working closely with the Correctional Center and Corizon Health to get a true picture of number of cases amongst the public and the prison population,” said Weldon.
On Monday afternoon, the Department of Corrections dashboard still showed 189 offenders with active cases of COVID-19 and nine staff members.
“Both local entities would like to encourage the public to continue mitigation strategies for preventing the spread of the virus such as wearing a mask in public, staying home when sick, frequent handwashing, avoiding crowds, limiting time spent with people outside their family and staying six feet away from other people,” the statement said.