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Coronavirus: Ohio prisons director tests positive for COVID-19

Lebanon Correctional Institution. GREG LYNCH / STAFF FILE
Lebanon Correctional Institution. GREG LYNCH / STAFF FILE

As coronavirus cases continue to spread through Ohio’s prison system, its director announced that she tested positive for COVID-19.

Annette Chambers-Smith told staff Monday at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction that she received a positive result for a coronavirus test administered Friday.

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Chambers-Smith was last inside a prison June 26, and since last Tuesday has not been at the prison’s Operation Support Center — where the majority of staff have been working at home since March, according to a release from the ODRC.

Annette Chambers-Smith, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction
Annette Chambers-Smith, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction

“For months, managing COVID within Ohio’s prisons has been my single highest priority,” Chambers-Smith stated in the release. “While I am focusing on my health and doing what is recommended – which is to monitor my symptoms and self-quarantine, I will continue to ensure DRC is taking all necessary steps and precautions to maintain the health and safety of all of our staff and incarcerated population. Our agency continues to be in good hands, and we are working together as a team during these challenging times.”

Chambers-Smith is working from home and managing her symptoms, which are mild at this time. Contact tracing has begun for staff who have been working at the operations center, the release stated.