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Wheeler Inmates Test Positive for Tuberculosis

In early May an inmate at Wheeler Correctional Facility became ill and were exhibiting symptoms consistent with tuberculosis (TB) and was sent to a local hospital for medical evaluation. This individual was later transferred to Augusta State Medical Prison (ASMP) for continued medical care. Several days later another inmate was suspected of having contracted TB and was transferred to ASMP for further evaluation. Wheeler Correctional medical staff members have since been informed that these individuals are suspected-positive for TB. The facility has taken immediate precautionary action and enacted infection protocols to mitigate the potential risk to other inmates and staff, including: • A medical isolation of

the affected pods

• TB testing of all in mates assigned to the affected pods

• Full PPE for all sta

assigned to these pods until further notice

• Continued medical

lockdown of the pod and retesting as needed

• Meals provided on

disposable trays to reduce risk of spread “The facility has conducted, and is continuing to conduct, contact tracing and any subsequent testing of staff or inmates that may have had exposure to the suspected-positive inmates in accordance with Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC), Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protocols,” reported Ryan Gustin, Public Affairs Manager for Core Civic, the privatelyowned prison’s managing organization/corporation.

“The suspected-positive cases have been reported to state health officials and we will continue to work closely with them, along with our government partners at GDC, to appropriately address and mitigate the risk of infection within the facility,” Gustin said in a news release.

Annual TB skin testing is conducted for state inmates along with annual screening of previously positive PPD inmates for signs/ symptoms of TB.

“The health and safety of the individuals entrusted to our care and our staff is the top priority for Core-Civic. This commitment is shared by our government partners at the (GDC), and we work closely with them to ensure the well-being of those entrusted to our care,” Gustin noted.

According to medical sources, with proper treatment, tuberculosis is now almost always curable. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for six to nine months to kill the bacteria that cause the disease.

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