The Director of Corrections reports that, since the beginning of the outbreak in March 2020, 135 inmates at the Northampton County Prison (NCP) have tested positive for COVID-19. One-hundred-twenty-seven have finished their quarantine periods or are no longer in the institution; eight are currently in quarantine. Since March, NCP has conducted 1,854 tests for COVID-19 on inmates.
Forty-two NCP employees have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic. Forty-one have finished their quarantine periods and have returned to work. One staff member is in quarantine.
“Part of the way we will crush the pandemic at work is making sure we are as vigilant about wearing our masks, washing our hands and staying six feet apart when we are not,” says Lamont McClure.
To protect the health of inmates and staff, volunteers, visitors and tours were banned from the prison on March 10th. NCP has suspended all programs and will reevaluate restarting those services in January. Inmates can contact their loved ones via phone, tablets or mail.
There are currently 514 inmates in residence at NCP. Twenty-eight non-violent offenders have been granted extended furloughs.
The Prison’s vendor, PrimeCare Medical, is closely monitoring the health of the inmates. Staff and inmates are following guidelines established by PrimeCare Medical to prevent further transmission of the virus. Due to the recent rise in cases, all inmates and employees wear masks in the facility and have their temperatures checked multiple times a day. Updated cleaning procedures have been established including regular disinfection of rooms with UV light. New inmates are tested upon arrival and random testing takes place throughout the prison on a regular basis. NCP began universal testing for COVID-19 on July 20th.
A COVID-19 drive-through testing site is open at 3100 Emrick Blvd. Bethlehem Township, 18020. Hours of operation are Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 9:00AM – 4:00PM and Tuesday/Thursday from 11:00AM to 6:00PM. The site is open on every Saturday from 9:00AM – 12:00 Noon. The drive-through testing center is located in the parking area to the rear of the Coordinated Health Building and is separate from patient parking and routine patient care. The majority of patients tested at this site received their results in one-to-two days.
A Physician’s order is not required but, to be eligible for testing, individuals must report or display one or more CDC-recognized symptoms of COVID-19: fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or loss of taste and/or smell. The drive-through site is open to everyone, but only residents of Northampton County will receive a free test if they do not have health coverage. All testing will be through HNL Lab Medicine unless insurance requires an alternate laboratory. Participants should bring a photo ID and their insurance card, if they have one, with them to the testing site.
Information provided to TVL by:
Deputy Director of Administration
Northampton County Government Center
669 Washington Street
Easton, PA 18042