An inmate who has tested positive for the new coronavirus on Rikers Island was in isolation at an undisclosed location Wednesday night.

But NY1 has learned that eight “close contacts” to that inmate were showing symptoms of the virus.

A City Hall spokesperson told NY1 that the entire housing unit was isolated and under monitoring and essential services were being brought to them — meaning they do not leave the unit. That spokesperson told us the eight inmates who were closer contacts to the original inmate have symptoms and have been transferred. They were awaiting test results.

This comes after a correction officer already tested positive this week. The correction officers’ union is demanding 10,000 heavy duty face masks, similar to riot gear, to protect them from the spread of the virus. 

Meanwhile, Wednesday evening Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city could release some inmates from city jails who are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

"In the next 48 hours, we will identify any inmates who we think need to be brought out either because of their own health conditions, if they have a preexisting conditions, etcetera, or because the charges were minor and we think it's appropriate to bring them out in this context,” de Blasio said on WCBS radio. "That said, we still need our criminal justice system to function.”

The administration had been under pressure to release vulnerable inmates for days. The jail oversight board, the Board of Correction, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams called for their release.



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