DC Inmate Wasn't Isolated Hours After Showing Coronavirus Symptoms, Email Says

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An internal email obtained by News4 claims a D.C. inmate was not isolated from other inmates for hours after he showed symptoms of coronavirus.

A corrections officer said in the email they saw the inmate "who was designated by Medical Staff to move to Isolation Unit NO2" was still in his cell Thursday night.

"[The inmate] was laying on his bunk and sweating profusely,” the email says.

The corrections officer said in the email they told the inmate, who is in his 20s, to pack up his property and prepare to move, but the inmate replied that he couldn't move and requested medical help.

“After checking [the inmate's] vital signs, the medical staff deemed it necessary for [him] to be transported to the Hospital by ambulance,” the officer says.

Sources with direct knowledge of the man’s case say he did test positive for coronavirus.

More than 100 inmates in D.C.'s jails have tested positive for COVID-19.

The D.C. Department of Corrections has said that inmates who test positive for coronavirus are moved to a medical isolation unit.

A spokesperson for the corrections department told News4 the allegation that the inmate was ordered to be moved to isolation before he was sent to the hospital was "unfounded."

"We take the safety of those in our care and those who work in our facility very seriously and will continue to take appropriate measures to protect their well-being," the spokesperson said.

In a phone interview with News4, the inmate’s lawyer says her client was recently transferred to the jail from a federal prison in anticipation of an upcoming hearing.

“He said that there was no social distancing at the jail, that he was afraid and, also, that he didn't feel well," she said. She did not want to be identified in order to protect her client's identity.

The attorney who represents the Fraternal Order of Police D.C. Corrections Labor Committee filed a complaint with the D.C. Public Employee Relations Board requesting more contact tracing and other measures to insure the safety of officers and inmates.

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