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The Challenge of Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Correctional Facilities

Educational Objective
To understand the challenge of preventing COVID-19 spread in correctional facilities
1 Credit CME

Social distancing to minimize transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is virtually impossible in correctional facilities, whose residents live in close confinement, share toilets and showers, and typically sit shoulder-to-shoulder in mess halls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people who are incarcerated or detained in a particular facility often come from a variety of locations, increasing the chance of introducing COVID-19. Plus, options to isolate people with COVID-19 are usually limited, and many facilities restrict access to soap and paper towels and ban alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Social distancing to minimize transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is virtually impossible in correctional facilities, whose residents live in close confinement, share toilets and showers, and typically sit shoulder-to-shoulder in mess halls.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people who are incarcerated or detained in a particular facility often come from a variety of locations, increasing the chance of introducing COVID-19. Plus, options to isolate people with COVID-19 are usually limited, and many facilities restrict access to soap and paper towels and ban alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

In addition, incarcerated individuals are more likely than the general population to have underlying illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, or substance use disorder, that increase their risk of developing severe COVID-19, said Daniel Lopez Acuña, MD, MPH, who helped craft new COVID-19 guidelines for prisons and jails for the World Health Organization (WHO).

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