Health Care Professionals Demand the Reduction of Orleans Jail Population

We are concerned clinicians and members of the New Orleans community. We are
writing this letter to urge the Orleans Justice Center to release individuals from
detention to mitigate the harm of a potential COVID-19 outbreak. The risk posed by
infectious diseases in jails and prisons is significantly higher than in the community.
Prisons and jails are not isolated from the community; staff, visitors, and contractors
pass between facilities. Rapid turnover of prison populations means that people often
cycle between facilities and communities. We want to bring attention to the unique
considerations for the health and safety of incarcerated people at this time.

People incarcerated in jails are more likely to have chronic underlying health conditions,
like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, and compromised immune
systems. Therefore, they are more susceptible to acquiring COVID-19 and suffering
more serious complications as a result.

The CDC recommends social distancing at 6 feet as the most effective method to
control the spread of novel coronavirus. This is impossible to achieve in a jail or prison
with poor air ventilation and shared dining halls, bathrooms, and showers. However,
complete isolation of individuals within prison could place them at a higher risk of
neglect and death.

The CDC recommends using 60% hand sanitizer or washing hands for 20 seconds with
soap as a mitigation strategy. Jails and prisons do not provide adequate opportunities to
practice frequent handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Jails and prisons lack cleaning supplies and personnel to properly clean and disinfect
high-touch surfaces in shared spaces of the facility. They are ill-equipped to provide
sufficient personal protective equipment for incarcerated people and caregiving staff.
Some jails and prisons lack onsite Medical facilities or 24 hour Medical care.

Orleans Parish has the 6th-highest rate of known coronavirus cases of any county in the
country. With 567 confirmed cases in New Orleans as of March 23, 2020, our city is in
danger of running out of hospital beds and health care workers to treat the rapidly
growing number of patients admitted for COVID-19. If there were an outbreak of
COVID-19 in jail, the ability of Medical professionals to treat those inside and continuing
to treat the rest of the community will be severely compromised. Health care workers
are already working around the clock and are under enormous stress. Preventing an
outbreak within jails and prisons will contribute to flattening the curve and maintaining
the capacity of our Medical system.

As of March 23, 2020, the Orleans Justice Center confirmed that four staff members
have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Five inmates have test pending for
COVID-19 after showing symptoms. This evidence that many inside the prison have
already been exposed increases the urgency of taking these measures. We are quickly
running out of time.

Given these facts, responding to an outbreak of COVID-19 in prison would be beyond

the ability of the facility to provide adequate care. Individuals would be safer if given the
opportunity to self-isolate in their homes. As medical professionals in the community, we
urge you to use existing authority to take immediate and decisive action to release
individuals over the age of 65 and with chronic health conditions, and those who pose
no public safety risk.

Signed: (Affiliations for identification purposes only)

Marcia Glass, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine.

A. Domnica Fotino, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine
Anjali Niyogi, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine
Catherine Jones, MD, New Orleans, LA
Chayan Chakraborti, MD, Associate Professor
Crystal Le, MD, Ophthalmology
Danielle Canter, MD, Emergency Medicine
Deborah Levy MD, MSPH Psychiatry
Emma Cassidy, MD, Emergency Medicine Resident Physician
Helen Pope, MD, Faculty physician
Isis Smith, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine
Jacey C Jones, MD, Internal Medicine
Joshua Tiao, MD, Emergency Medicine
Katie Boland, MD, Internal Medicine Chief Resident
Kyle Herbert, MD
Larick David, MD, Emergency Medicine
Lisa Craft, MS NP, Internal Medicine
Mallory Lowe, MD, Neurology
Meredith Barr, MD Physician, Hospital Medicine
Michael Caffery, MD
Monique Germain, DO, Internal Medicine
Ryan Satovsky, MD, Physician
Sanjin Tunovic , MD Internal medicine
Sydney Deville, MD, Pediatrics
Theresia Sutherlin, MD, Triple Board (Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry) Resident
Virginia Byron, MD, Resident Physician
Aakash Amin, MD/MBA Student
Abigail Cohen, MD/MPH Candidate
Adam Kline, MD Candidate
Adhira Divagaran, M.D. Candidate, Medical Student
Afsoon Shirazi, MPH
Alarica Dietzen, Medical Student, Tulane U. School of Medicine
Alex Niculescu, MD Student
Alex Woodbridge, BA, BS, Third Year Medical Student
Alexandra Ranucci, BS, Medical Student
Alexis Hernandez, MPH, Community Health
Ally Noyes, B.S, Medical Student
Anadil Zakaria, BS, Medical Student
Andrea Mitchell, MSW, Lcsw
Ani Lankford, BA, MD candidate
Anna Sutherland, BA, Fourth year Medical Student
Anne Fenton, BS, Fourth Year Medical Student
Aubrey Swinford, B.S. Biology, Medical Student
Austin Govero, MD Student
Ayan Ali, MD Student
Ben Norton, MD, MPHTM Student
Bhumi Patel, MD/MPH Student
Brett Phillips, MD Student
Briana Sanders , MPH Student
Caleb Natale, BA, Medical Student
Cameron Kilpatrick, B.S., Medical Student, M2
Camille Knable, MD/MPH Student
Cara Coren, MD/MPH Candidate
Christiania Edstrom, BA, Medical Student
Christine Petrin, MPH/Medical Student
Dan Frechtling, MPH, Medical Student
Daniel Gottlieb, BA, Medical Student
Daniel Raza, B.S, Tulane Medical Student
David Lyle, 4th year MD Student
David Samsel, MD Student
Djoulissa Louis-Jean, MSPH Tropical Medicine Student
Emily Szklarski, MPH Health Education
Emily Zlotnick, MD/MPH Student
Emma Satchell, BA, MD Candidate
Emory Babcock, Masters in Public Health Student
Eva Stoops, BA Spanish, Medical Student
Faisal Kirdar, MS, MD/MPH Student
Frances Gill, MPH, Medical Student
Gianna Alberti, BA, Medical Student
Grant Blanchard, Medical Student
Hannah Albritton , MD/PhD Student
Harrison R Grieb, Medical Student
Hiba Elaasar , MD Student
Hilary Wright, Medical Student
Hillary Gary, MD Student
Jack Halligan, Medical Student
James Cliffe, Medical Student
James Marsh, Bachelor of Science, Medical Student
Jason Chen, Medical Student
Jessica Mecklosky, BS, Medical Student
Jessica Seay, MD/MPH Student
John Spartz, BS, Medical Student
Jonathan Rizner, BA Medical Student
Judy Fustok , MD Student
Juliet Strauss, MD-PhD Student
Kathleen Condon, MD/MPH Student
Katie Carsky, MD/MS Candidate, Class of 2020
Khizir Qureshi, MD/MPH Student
Kole Akula, BS, Medical Student
Laura Hein, MD Candidate
Lauren Bryant, MPH Health Policy Student
Lauren Nguyen, B.S., Medical Student
Layne Raborn, B.S., Medical Student
Leah Rosin-Pritchard, MSW Candidate
Leah Steinmetz, MD/MPH Student
Lily Trinh, BS, Medical Student
Lucy Meyer, BA (MD Candidate 2020)
Magnus Chun, MD Student
Manuela Gaviria, M.S, Medical Student
Mary Hogan, Medical Student
Mary Siki, BS, Medical Student TUSOM
Matthew Kogan, MD Student
Mayanka Mahendran, MD/MPH Student
Meaghan Coyne, Medical Student MS4
Megan Daniele, MBS, MD Candidate
Meredith Freeman, third year Medical Student
Millicent A Olawale, MS, Medical Student
Naomi Breckon, BS, Medical Student
Nathan A. Rinehouse, MD, Internal Medicine
Nicholas Mankowski, Bachelors in Science, Medical Student
Nichole Downing, MD/MPHTM Medical Student
Nicole Salfi, Medical Student
Nyemachi Chikere, Biological Sciences BS, Medical Student
Olivia Fankuchen, BS, Medical Student
Olivia Fankuchen, BS, Medical Student
Rachael Stevens,BA, Medical Student
Rachel Trusty, MS, MHS, Medical Student (M1)
Rosemary Matossian, M.S., M.D Medical Student
Samuel Eggers, BS, Medical Student
Samuel Ficenec, MD/MPH Student
Sandra Beauchamp, MD Candidate
Sarah Amkieh, BS, Consumer Health Advocate
Sarah Hermans, BA, Medical Student
Sarah Hill, MPHTM Student
Sasha Jones, BA, Medical Student
Shana Zucker, BA, Medical Student
Shannon Hogan, BS, Medical Student
Shannon Williams, MPH, Mental Health Education
Stephanie Shea, MD Medical Student
Teena Geiger, Program Coordinator, New Orleans, LA
Theodore Brown, MPH, MA, Radiology
Thomas McCarthy, TUSOM Class of 2023, Student
Tierra Moultrie, Medical Student
Tristan Peronard, MD Student
Vaishali Oza, Medical Student
Victoria McDermott, BS, Student
Victoria Weprinsky, MD Candidate Class of 2021
Vivian Hoang, BS in Neuroscience, MD/MPH Student
Yemi Olubowale, MA, Medical Student
Yonah Levy, MD Student

Originally published at

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