Influenza outbreak hits prisons hard
HDSP has limited the movement of all inmates and suspended all visits to inmates.
Dennis Gunter, a spokesman for HDSP, said the two institutions are cooperating with each other to limit the spread of the virus.
He said the medical staffs from both prisons are moving back and forth to provide health care and education to inmates and staff.
According to a press release from HDSP, the influenza outbreak was first identified on the HDSP Minimum Support Facility on Tuesday, Feb. 5. All movement in and out of the facility was suspended that day.
All staff and inmates were notified of the outbreak and everyone was advised to utilize universal precautions, including, but not limited to, frequent hand washing to minimize exposure.
As of Monday, Feb. 11, multiple inmates on every facility at HDSP had been identified with symptoms of influenza.
Medical staff has been screening the inmates, providing treatment to the ill inmates, and has been administering the influenza vaccine to all inmates and staff on a voluntary basis. This process began on Monday, Feb. 11, and will continue until completed.
Movement of inmates has been restricted at this time until further notice in order to limit exposure to the rest of the institution.
As of Wednesday, Feb. 13, approximately 216 inmates, and 20 staff have been identified as having the signs and symptoms of flu.
The following restriction have been put in place at HDSP until further notice:
•Inmate movement on or off any facility at HDSP to other areas of the prison will be under emergency conditions only with direct facility medical involvement and consent prior to the move.
•Visiting has been suspended for all inmates at HDSP.
•Staff and inmates have been advised to utilize universal precautions, including, but not limited to, frequent hand washing to minimize exposure.
•Staff are required to continually monitor the inmate population and immediately notify medical personnel if they become aware of an inmate who has influenza symptoms.
•To minimize exposures, frequent cleaning throughout the institution has been implemented.
•Inmate movement via transfer in/out, including the Reception Center, is closed until further notice.
•Staff have been advised to report to their supervisor if they come down with symptoms of the flu.
Lt. Scott Porter, administrative assistant at CCC, said this strain of flu seems to affect the upper respiratory system.
“We’re trying to nip it in the bud,” Porter said. “Every year when flu season comes around and the flu bug starts to hit, we try to keep it as contained as possible, but it’s tough.
Porter said the institution was educating staff to try and keep the flu from spreading from the prison to the community. Staff members are being trained to cover their coughs and are learning proper hand-washing procedures.
Although the flu reportedly is going around in Susanville as well, Porter said the prison didn’t want employees to take the illness home to their families.
“We’re trying to keep contact to a minimum,” Porter said.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, Sierra Unit Dorm 57 was placed on quarantine as a result of exposure to the flu.
On Feb. 11, a new case of flu was diagnosed on Sierra Dorm 66, which also was placed on quarantine.
On Feb. 12, numerous additional cases diagnosed and Sierra Dorm 56 and Cascade Dorms 05 and 28 were placed on quarantine.
Porter said each dorm houses 32 men and there are 38 dorms in each unit.
Mullin said the quarantine affects about 110 inmates at CCC.
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