Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in the New York State Prison System continues to rise. The President of the New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association has tested positive for COVID-19.

Bryan Hluska reached out to WIBX to tell us they are already seeing the numbers increase in Oneida County prisons. NYSCOPBA President Michael Powers said in a press release,

To date, there are approximately 56 state correction officers and sergeants that have tested positive for COVID-19, including me. One of the officers is hospitalized and requires the use of a ventilator. Additionally, hundreds of DOCCS employees are under self-quarantine or directed by their personal physicians to remain under quarantine.

Union members believe this problem will only get worse. There is still a dire need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), despite numerous calls for The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to provide that protection to those directly or indirectly exposed.

"The members of NYSCOPBA must be afforded the ability to protect themselves. The use of PPEs to limit our members from exposure and infection makes sense. Too much time has already passed. Every day we are discovering more positive tests for COVID-19," Powers added.

Marcy Correctional in Oneida County is no exception. Central Region VP of NYSCOPBA Bryan Hluska has confirmed to WIBX that two inmates that have tested positive for Coronavirus. Hluska says, "Marcy has 2 dorms now quarantined with 2 positive inmates in isolation and 14 officers out on quarantine."

The list below indicates the amount of officers out on precautionary quarantine in Central New York Region prisons.

Mohawk - 2
Midstate - 2
Gouverneur - 1
Hale Creek - 1
Watertown - 1

As mentioned by Hluska last week, the DOCCS is not allowing personal PPE to be brought in and used from home. In his release, Powers stated that New York City guards could use their own equipment, but "the State has failed to enact these reasonable measures for the protection of the members of NYSCOPBA."

 NYSCOPBA representatives are beginning to get worried that this outbreak could get out of control. As Correctional Officers go home and into their communities everyday representatives believe this will only add to the positive cases of the virus in New York State.

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has issued the following response: https://wibx950.com/new-york-state-department-of-corrections-responds-to-covid-19-concerns/.