Is there a temporal relationship between covid-19 infections among prison staff, incarcerated persons and the larger community in the United States?

Danielle Wallace, John M. Eason, Jason Walker, Sherry Towers, Tony H. Grubesic, Jake R. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Our objective was to examine the temporal relationship between COVID-19 infections among prison staff, incarcerated individuals, and the general population in the county where the prison is located among federal prisons in the United States. Methods: We employed population-standardized regressions with fixed effects for prisons to predict the number of active cases of COVID-19 among incarcerated persons using data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for the months of March to December in 2020 for 63 prisons. Results: There is a significant relationship between the COVID-19 prevalence among staff, and through them, the larger commu-nity, and COVID-19 prevalence among incarcerated persons in the US federal prison system. When staff rates are low or at zero, COVID-19 incidence in the larger community continues to have an association with COVID-19 prevalence among incarcerated persons, suggesting possible pre-symp-tomatic and asymptomatic transmission by staff. Masking policies slightly reduced COVID-19 prevalence among incarcerated persons, though the association between infections among staff, the com-munity, and incarcerated persons remained significant and strong. Conclusion: The relationship between COVID-19 infections among staff and incarcerated persons shows that staff is vital to infection control, and correctional administrators should also focus infection containment efforts on staff, in addition to incarcerated persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6873
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Correctional staff
  • Incarcerated populations
  • Incarceration
  • Pandemic
  • Prisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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