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BOP COVID-19 UPDATE -- February 18, 2021 (note: BOP did not update its stats yesterday)

Currently positive-testing inmates: 1731 (up from 1,650)

Currently positive-testing staff: 1,657 (down from 1683)

Recovered inmates: 45,532 (up from 45,356)

Recovered staff: 4,716 (up from 4,652)

Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Tallahassee FCI: 228

Florence High USP: 207 (up from 162)

Leavenworth USP: 138 (up from 134)

Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing staff:

Pollock USP: 82

Tuckson USP: 69

Oklahoma City FTC: 59 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 123,670 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,723 in community-based facilities. Today's stats:

Completed tests: 103,590 (up from 103,211) Positive tests: 46,414 (up from 46,155)

Case Note: Fort Dix: COVID cesspool...

In U.S. v. DEREK SPENCER, 2021 WL 565388 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 12, 2021) (Savage, J.), Judge Savage added to the already scathing rebukes of Fort Dix: "To address the rapid spread of COVID-19 in federal prisons, Congress passed the CARES Act authorizing the Attorney General to expand the use of home confinement to protect vulnerable prisoners from COVID-19 infection. Despite this legislative expansion, the BOP has transferred less than 5 percent of the individuals in its custody to home confinement.Spencer is incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, a facility with a significant COVID-19 outbreak. There are 186 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates at FCI Fort Dix, and 36 among staff. The first inmate death occurred in January 2021. FCI Fort Dix consists of a low-security facility with a minimum security satellite camp. The facility's dormitory-style housing holds anywhere from two to twelve inmates per room. Videos purportedly taken by prisoners inside the facility's quarantine unit show overflowing trashcans and scattered debris due to the shortage of healthy staff and inmate workers. Families and advocates blame the outbreak on the BOP “for transferring 150 prisoners this fall from Ohio's FCI Elkton, where more than 1,000 prisoners and staff have been infected.” With 1,818 positive tests recorded, FCI Fort Dix has the highest number of infections in the federal system. Spencer attests that he is currently housed in a unit with over 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19. In November 2020, U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez sent a letter to the BOP calling the situation a “rapidly escalating crisis” demanding an indefinite moratorium on inmate transfers and immediate testing of all prisoners and staff. They stated that “[i]t is clear that BOP does not have an effective plan to ensure COVID-19 positive inmates are not transferred between facilities” and that “all FCI Fort Dix inmates, staff, and the surrounding communities are now at increased risk for contracting COVID-19, with potentially deadly consequences.”We find that the combination of these circumstances rises to the level of “extraordinary and compelling.” Spencer suffers from several serious medical conditions associated with increased risk for COVID-19. The BOP has not been able to provide adequate medical care to treat his conditions, including a neurological examination for his repeated seizures and follow-up tests to confirm his TB diagnosis, due to the pandemic. He is housed at a facility where over 1,800 inmates have contracted the virus, and at least one has died. His current unit has 54 confirmed cases. He is at continual risk for infection due to FCI Fort Dix's living conditions, which could prove fatal.”

Death Watch: The BOP has released the identity of the most recent COVID-19 inmate fatality, that of Wayne Spinks, 75, of FCI Edgefield. Inmate fatalities stand at 222. Four of these inmates died while on home confinement. BOP staff fatalities remain at 4.

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