This year’s widespread flu that has affected more than 4,000 Delawareans is also sweeping through First State correctional facilities, prompting staff to suspend visitation for an age group vulnerable to the virus.
Delaware’s Department of Correction says 64 inmates across their Level 4 and Level 5 facilities have been treated for the flu with Tamiflu so far this flu season.
The Delaware Division of Public Health stresses 32 of those 64 cases are lab-confirmed. Last flu season, there were only five lab-confirmed cases reported by the Corrections department. During the 2015-2016 flu season, the DOC reported 45 lab-confirmed cases.
The two departments are working together to treat inmates with higher temperatures and flu symptoms. Inmates who are affected with the flu have been put in isolated housing units or infirmaries.
Because of how widespread the virus is, the DOC says children under 16 cannot visit the prisons until further notice. The DPH says children are the most vulnerable population to the flu.
Health officials are calling this a “terribly difficult flu season.” As of this week, 19 Delawareans have died from the flu since December.