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*** UPDATED x1 *** Medical director at hospital near Stateville: “This is a disaster”

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Herald-News

An inmate at Stateville Correctional Center has died from coronavirus, and the total number of cases in Will County doubled over the weekend.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported Monday that one inmate at Stateville has died and 100 others at the prison have been hospitalized or isolated because they show symptoms.

The Stateville cases are not included in the coronavirus counts in Will County, where two more people died and the total number of cases reached 224.

Stateville is located in Crest Hill, but the coronavirus cases and deaths that occur there are reported separately from the Will County numbers, said Steve Brandy, spokesman for the Will County Health Department.

* ABC 7’s I-Team reached out to the person in charge at the closest hospital, Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet and his outlook is quite grim

The hospital’s medical director, Dr. John Walsh, said they have been “overwhelmed” by inmates suffering from the effects of coronavirus.

“This is a disaster,” he said. “What I most fear, is that without some resolution, the number of patents coming in from Stateville will be excessive.” […]

There are nine prisoners currently on ventilators in the intensive care unit at Saint Joseph, with the other prisoners and patients in need of care. Dr. Walsh said the hospital is “maxed out on staff.” […]

Walsh said his concern is that there are at least 100 prisoners still inside Stateville who have fevers. […]

According to Walsh, Saint Joseph Hospital has only a few more ventilators available. He fears that the prison death toll could be in excess of 100.

* On to the Tribune

To date, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has offered little in the way of specifics on what review process is in place, and IDOC has confirmed a mere six inmates have been released early so far, slowed partly by a rule that released inmates have secure housing. The first death of an inmate was announced Monday, a man who was being housed at Stateville Correctional Center. […]

IDOC, meanwhile, has continued to say little about any specific planned process or an anticipated number of releases, though advocates said they have heard some 100 prisoners could be on a pathway to leaving state custody.

The Tribune on Friday first reported the release of six women housed on a special wing of the Decatur Correctional Center that houses inmates who have given birth while in custody.

Your thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** This is not good

Data was derived from this site.

* Related…

* Elderly inmates are at high risk for coronavirus. Why are there so many of them in Illinois’s prisons?

* ‘Jails Are Petri Dishes’: Inmates Freed as the Virus Spreads Behind Bars

* More Than 100 Cook County Jail Detainees Test Positive For Coronavirus

* One of the largest single-site jails in the US grapples with 134 coronavirus cases


  1. - Southern - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    It has been stated on here several times, DHS and DOC kept continuing near normal operations while everyone else was ordered to shelter. Those agencies have denied 99% of the non-security staff from working from home. Maybe J.B. should have implemented the same policies for his own agencies as he did for everyone else. Also noticeably silent, AFSCME.

  2. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    Southern, maybe you could do a deep dive all the way back to yesterday before spouting off nonsense:

    - In addition, AFSCME 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch told me through a spokesperson…

    (W)e are continuing to urge DHS to close all its offices as soon as it can be assured that clients have access to needed services via phone and/or web. In the meantime, we are urging the department to rotate which offices remain open. -

  3. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:18 am:

    Southern -
    Exactly how do correctional officers work from home? Bring inmates home with them, driving them to the home of the next shift’s officer?

  4. - Magic Dragon - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    IDOC waited entirely too long to suspend visits. This is only one facility…it is inevitable that many other facilities will also have the same issue on their hands.

  5. - AlfondoGonz - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    Nonviolent offenders should be released. Inmates should then be rehoused, clearing out a jail/prison for sick inmates. Equipment and doctors need to be sent for yesterday. This is a human rights catastrophe waiting to happen, and one where about half the population will say “they made their bed.”

    From a prosecutor.

  6. - Magic Dragon - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    What is your definition of “Non-Violent”? When considering criminal history, there are not that many “Non-Violent” offenders that make their way to IDOC.

  7. - efudd - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:36 am:


    What you know about the duties of non-security staff in prisons is nil.
    Most information that non-security staff must have access to do their jobs cannot leave prison grounds, in any form, by law.
    Also, who is supposed to inventory and distribute the daily deliveries prisons receive to operate?

  8. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    Just got an Emergency Alert Severe Alert on my cell phone- State needs licensed healthcare workers to sign up at to fight COVID-19.

  9. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    Prisoners can’t be released unless they have some place to go. For many inmates, there is no one who will take them in. It’s a mess and it’s likely to get much worse.

  10. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:51 am:

    This policy to flatten or steepen the curve is one the Administration can completely control — converting thousands of sentences to home confinement is the right public safety and public health move. The Administration has the authority to do so. 730 ILCS 5/5-8A-3(e).

    Especially in rural communities around prisons, the amount of ICU beds are very low and the percentage of elderly residents are high.

    To protect those communities from their hospitals getting overwhelmed with prisoners, the Administration (with public, local, bipartisan support) should get these overcrowded prisons to a sanitary level by converting thousands of our 38,000 inmates to home confinement. Most of them have houses to go to.

    This is tough politically in a non-pandemic world but not at all tough from a public health perspective. The curve gets very steep in prisons and that infects staff which infects communities and overwhelms rural health care.

  11. - Suthern - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    Most information that non-security staff must have access to do their jobs cannot leave prison grounds, in any form, by law

    Their entire offender information system is web based for remote access to that information.

  12. - Springfidelwatcher - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    Don’t forget about the Developmental Centers

  13. - Mr. K. - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 11:52 am:

    Also noticeably silent, AFSCME.

    Nope. AFSCME’s been sending out frequent updates. Just got one yesterday. Not silent at all.

    Whether or not they’re as effective as they want to be — that’s an open question, sure.

    But silence? Not at all.

  14. - Southern - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    Nope. AFSCME’s been sending out frequent updates. Just got one yesterday. Not silent at all.

    Listened to their call on Friday regarding Covid 19, got to hear all about how important it was to vote for the Fair Tax in November. They are not shy about criticizing others for a failure to act, but are giving this administration a pass on this.

  15. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    Does anyone think that people who could not obey the law before are now going to practice home confinement? Releasing them increases risk for the rest of the community.

    The prediction is that the crest of the wave will hit in two to three weeks. Sounds like the prisons are ahead of the curve.

  16. - JudgeDavidDavis - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    Wouldn’t prison inmates practice Social Distancing for much of the day?

  17. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    I’m no expert, but it is probably too late to release non-violent offenders. The legal and practical concerns aside, you can’t just let hundreds of people who have been exposed out. Not to state the obvious, but Stateville is Maximum security. Your not letting them go anyway.

    The governor needs to have the National Guard ready to step in to man the state prisons and mental health facilities. When they go short staffed, you are not fixing it overnight and you are not blaming Trump on this one.

  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===I’m no expert===

    When you write that, maybe just stop.

  19. - WLDS - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    The list is missing a few hospitals in West Central Illinois. I don’t believe they operate with that provider where the website culled those numbers from.

    Illini Community Hospital in Pittsfield
    Jersey Community Hospital in Jerseyville
    Blessing Hospital in Quincy
    There is also a small hospital in Carlinville

    Most of these counties have had 10 or less reported cases and are currently seeing an influx of testing. Currently there are 3 people being monitored at home here in Jacksonville.

    As for the prison system, we are receiving reports of the prisons in Mt. Sterling, Jacksonville, and Rushville not having any PPE in dealing with the general population of inmates in these prisons.

  20. - SKI - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    Lincoln and Logan are right next to each other in Lincoln. Why does one have the hospital listed as Decatur which is 30 minutes away from the facility?

    BTW - both facilities are usually very crowded. Likely a disaster waiting to happen there.

  21. - #statevillestrong - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    Trust me…. stateville is doing everything possible. High level management is clueless and seems like policy changes every day. Front line staff, Sgts, LTs, and Majors are doing everything within our power.

  22. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    ==not having any PPE==

    PPE is being restricted to health care providers right now. If you aren’t a doctor or nurse or other first responder you aren’t getting any PPE.

  23. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    First of all, thank you to those working at Corrections, Vets Affairs, Human Services, Children and Family Services, and any other front line workers I have missed. You are putting yourselves at risk and yet you continue to do your jobs the best you can. Again, thank you.

    ==seems like policy changes every day==

    That’s likely because state policies are changing on a continual basis. Everyone was caught flat footed and now everyone is trying to play catch up.

  24. - WLDS - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    Demoralized - Dr. Ezike said that DOC was giving PPE to those in the state’s prisons yesterday.

  25. - Hey - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    So will those hospitals start to have to prioritize who gets a bed? A prisoner from Statesville or a resident of Joliet?

  26. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    ==A prisoner from Statesville or a resident of Joliet?==

    Both of those are people. Their “status” should not matter should triage be necessary.

  27. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    Triage means deciding who gets what level of care. Status matters. Nurses will get treatment before prisoners. Young before old. Otherwise healthy before the already ill.

    I realize that I would not make the cut if I need help when the system is overwhelmed. So I am extremely careful.

  28. - Top of the State - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    When the inmates are released… often they go on coaches. (I recall a transfer station off I-57 in Effingham.). One hopes that they are trying to not fill them to capacity and are mitigating the risks. In CA (near San Francisco) one prison used Uber transportation instead of mass transport.

  29. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    Honestly, when I first read this post this morning I instantly thought of all the Downstate prisons and the lack of close ICU beds in any sizable numbers. Just take Menard in Chester as 1 example. You fill that hospital and the next closest hospitals are in the Metro-East area. Or with Lincoln/Logan you’re transferring patients to Springfield or Bloomington (I’m not sure why Decatur was listed as the hospital). While that chart only lists 1 hospital per prison, so the picture isn’t as grim as that makes it out, it’s not a pretty picture and the state was probably lucky the first outbreak occurred at Stateville.

  30. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    ==Status matters==

    Status does matter but not the way you think it does. Triage isn’t done based on who you are, it’s done based on how critically ill you are.

    Sheesh. Here’s hoping you aren’t doing any of the triage.

  31. - DOCEmployee - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 6:02 pm:

    I agree with WLDS— I wouldn’t rely on the hospital website too heavily. There are three other hospitals with ICU beds near Southwestern on the Illinois side of the river and at least four in St. Louis. Southwestern COs already have hospital duties for inmates at all of these prisons regularly, so I’m sure they would be used for these cases, if they were needed.

  32. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Mar 31, 20 @ 7:01 pm:

    Demoralized. As I said earlier, I would not expect to get through the triage process when resources do not exist to treat everybody. If the choice is between extending the life of a 20 year old or a 90 year old, I go for youth. Would you flip a coin?
    And yes I would treat the nurse before the felon. The nurse can come back and help. The felon goes back to jail.

    If you want an extreme example of triage, read “The Birkenhead Drill” by Kipling. (May have misspelled Birkenhead)

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