Mistakes worsened deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Terminal Island federal prison, investigation finds

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Exterior view of the Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island in San Pedro. A man who was released from the prison earlier this year was killed in a shooting in Alaska on Oct. 21, 2020. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Exterior view of the Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island in San Pedro. A man who was released from the prison earlier this year was killed in a shooting in Alaska on Oct. 21, 2020. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A new report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General paints a dire picture of problems that exacerbated a deadly coronavirus outbreak last year at Terminal Island federal prison.

The report, released Wednesday, found that officials at the low-security prison in San Pedro struggled to keep inmates socially distanced and did not adequately quarantine those who tested positive for the virus, which ultimately infected more than 70% of the prison population and killed 10 inmates.

Investigators found that the prison failed to identify the virus early in many of those who eventually died and that five of the 10 “did not receive a COVID-19 test until after staff sent them to the hospital.”

Terminal Island officials told the inspector general’s investigators that three of those five inmates did not initially show COVID-19 symptoms and that staff sent the other two inmates to the hospital the same day that prison officials identified their symptoms. Terminal Island’s outbreak remains the third-deadliest in the massive federal prison system. Eight of those who died had preexisting medical conditions, and six were older than 65.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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