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State Corrections Department shortens recovery time for officers who contracted COVID-19

Corrections health experts have been urging prison administrators to plan for coronavirus.
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Corrections health experts have been urging prison administrators to plan for coronavirus.

Michigan’s Department of Corrections is shortening the timeline for officers to return to work after getting COVID-19.

Ten state prisons are under contingency plans because of staffing shortages. There, corrections officers who got COVID can now return to work after five days if they’re asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and wear a KN-95 mask.

Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says the change reflects C-D-C guidance that reduces the recommended isolation time for people with improving symptoms.

“Especially with omicron and especially with in the most recent number of cases that we've seen, from our staff, that have tested positive, a large number of them are asymptomatic, or they've had incredibly mild symptoms.”

At the Michigan prisons not operating under contingency plans, staff who got COVID can return to work after seven days with mild or no symptoms and a negative test.

That’s shorter than the previous isolation time of 10 days. Gautz says it’s been challenging to keep up staff levels with fifty to one hundred employees out each day because they have the virus or could have been exposed.