Lompoc’s minimum-security prison to test 100% of inmates
LOMPOC, Calif. - The minimum-security prison in Lompoc plans to test every inmate for the coronavirus.
The Federal Correctional Institute, Lompoc says they have purchased enough tests for each inmate at the prison. The tests will be administered by Health Services staff and the lab work will be done by a private company.
The prison began testing the entire prison population this week.
Prison officials say the testing will help reduce the spread of the deadly virus at the prison and will help shorten the overall quarantine period for inmates.
An increase of positive COVID-19 cases will likely be reported on the Bureau of Prisons website once the entire inmate population is tested.
FCI Lompoc also said they are taking steps in encouraging physical distancing at the prison, despite the challenges of keeping inmates apart. 250 beds have been installed in various locations throughout the prison to serve as alternate housing. Those locations include the prison's gymnasium, chapel, visiting room, and the decommissioned prison industry factory.
The prison says there are also field living quarters being used on the prison grounds, which is said to be temperature controlled.
Part of the prison's response to curb the spread of the coronavirus, is limiting inmate access to phone and email stations. Friends and family are encouraged to contact their loved ones through written mail. In a press release issued Tuesday, the prison said they plan to re-evaluate this precautions "as soon as possible."
Staff at the prison are also being evaluated regularly and inmates due for release are being quarantined for at least two weeks ahead of time.
Employees of the prison are being informed of proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques and the prison says there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment on site.
Last month, Congressman Salud Carbajal, as well as California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, penned a letter to the Bureau of Prisons requesting more urgent action at the prison as well as more PPE for staff and inmates. The Federal Correctional Complex, which includes FCI Lompoc and United States Penitentiary, Lompoc, softly refuted claims made about a lack of PPE at the prison.
A hospital care unit which will service COVID-19 patients, which is mentioned in the lawmakers' letter, was just completed this week. That care unit is located inside USP Lompoc, the medium-security prison at the Federal Correctional Complex.
So far, more than 100 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 throughout FCC Lompoc. One inmate has died.