Lewisburg Penitentiary

The Lewisburg Penitentiary.

Staff at USP Lewisburg restricted inmates to their cells inside the federal penitentiary Thursday after a positive case of COVID-19 was discovered, according to a federal prison bureau spokesperson.

“USP Lewisburg is in the process of testing all inmates after having its first case yesterday. All cases are at the institution's penitentiary, not the camp,” Justin Long, public affairs officer, Federal Bureau of Prisons, said Friday.

Long did not indicate if the diagnosis was of an inmate or staff member. An employee at the Lewisburg penitentiary tested positive for the disease in May following an assignment in New York City to relieve overburdened prison staff during the pandemic.

“After the first case,” Long said of the current situation, “the institution modified its operations to restrict the inmates to their cells to mitigate the spread of the virus. Additionally, inmate social visiting is suspended nationwide throughout the (Bureau of Prisons).”

The bureau maintains a website that updates daily with COVID-19 statistics at individual facilities. The site hadn’t updated as of 8 p.m. Friday to indicate at least one current positive case at the penitentiary. It did show that two inmates' tests were pending but that none were currently positive for the virus.

“We expect this number to rise due to mass testing when the webpage updates later (Friday) or this weekend,” Long said.

One inmate test is pending at the nearby medium-security facility at Allenwood Federal Correctional Institution, the website states, while one staffer has a current positive case of the disease.

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