Valhalla, NY — A 45-year old inmate at the Westchester County jail has tested positive for tuberculosis, an infectious disease that can spread easily among people sharing close quarters, The Journal News reported.
At present time, the male inmate is being treated at Westchester Medical Center under the watch of the Department of Corrections (DOC). The Health Department says it is working with state and local health officials, testing and evaluating, working to identify any inmates or staff members who may have been exposed to the infected inmate, to see if they were infected.
Correction officers only find out on news when public did
What is disturbing in this situation was how correction officers who works in the WCDOC, learned about the inmate testing positive for tuberculosis on the news when the public did , or when one officer mentioned it at the end of the briefling, according to one C.O. who spoke to BW anonymously.
According to the C.O., many of the officers only found out when at the end of a briefing when officers asked, “Are we going to talk about the inmate with the tuberculosis that I heard about on News 12.”
Officers at the briefing, were shocked by the news and the fact there weren’t being alerted to the situation, before they began their shift.
County health officials say the infected inmate, is the first confirmed case at the jail in many years. According to DOH officials, TB is much less infectious than many common infections such as chickenpox.
“The bacteria grow very slowly and it takes prolonged exposure and close contact with an individual with TB before a person can become infected,” officials said. “Following exposure, the disease can be prevented and is generally completely curable with a course of antibiotics.”
Rates of tuberculosis have been dropping nationwide since a spike in the early 1990s.
Even so, the disease killed 1.5 million people worldwide in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most TB cases in New York occur in New York City and surrounding areas, including Westchester, according to Lohud.
Holiday Mass by Cardinal Timothy Dolan scheduled for Monday will go on as planned.
Westchester County officials have decided to go ahead with a Holiday Mass for Monday morning at Westchester County Jail, despite a 45-year old male inmate testing positive for active tuberculosis, they announced. The mass is scheduled to be conducted at the Valhalla-based facility by Cardinal Dolan, and attended by County Executive Rob Astorino and others.
“Both County Executive Rob Astorino and Cardinal Dolan have been briefed on the situation and the pathology of TB and both agree that there is minimal risk,” officials said in a statement.