COLUMBUS -- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday announced the state has provided more than 1.1 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) to its state prisons.
The PPEs issued include 108,000 N95 masks; 256,000 gloves; 684,000 procedure masks; 10,000 provider gowns; and 100,000 cloth masks for inmates
"This equipment is vital to the safety of our corrections staff and the inmates who they guard," DeWine said. "Our goal is to keep a 90-day supply of the most critical equipment."
During DeWine's daily press briefing, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Annette Chambers Smith provided an overview of steps taken within Ohio's 28 state correction facilities to protect inmates and staff, as well as prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.
ODRC has implemented several safeguards for inmates including increasing hygiene products and sanitation materials, offering cloth face coverings, and preventing intermingling between inmate cohorts, the director said.
Although ODRC's inmate population is the lowest it has been since 2006, social distancing measures have also been implemented by expanding housing units into prison chapels and gyms.
Additionally, the Ohio National Guard has constructed tents at two facilities to further separate inmates. Members of the Ohio National Guard are also assisting with staffing and health care.
Mass testing at the Marion Correctional Institution revealed that approximately 96 percent of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic, further demonstrating that individuals can spread the virus without knowing that they are infected.
Mass testing also took place at the Pickaway Correctional Institution and the prison medical center in Columbus.
One inmate and three staff members at the Mansfield Correctional Institution have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the ODRC website. Two staff members at Richland Correctional Institution have tested positive and three inmates are isolated awaiting test results.
ODRC plans to test inmates in all state prison facilities who are symptomatic, as well as those who are being released early or at the conclusion of their full sentences. Any inmates who have been granted early release and test positive for COVID-19 will not be released until medically cleared.
ODRC has surged an ample amount of PPE to facility staff, and staff members at high-risk locations have also been offered the use of hotel rooms instead of going home or for showering before returning to their families.
The Ohio Department of Health announced Thursday there were 18,027 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 975 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths.
A total of 3,533 people have been hospitalized, including 1,035 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.