NYSCOPBA president tests positive for coronavirus, urges state to provide PPE

Michael B. Powers, the union president of the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 30, 2020 10:24 AM
Updated: Mar 30, 2020 1:12 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. — Michael B. Powers, the union president of the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Powers has been in quarantine at his home for the past several days.

NYSCOPBA says Powers was regularly in contact with correctional officers across New York.

Powers says there are more than 50 officers with coronavirus, and hundreds in self-isolation.

“To date, there are approximately 56 state correction officers and sergeants that have tested positive for COVID-19, including me. One of the officers is hospitalized and requires the use of a ventilator.

“Additionally, hundreds of DOCCS employees are under self-quarantine or directed by their personal physicians to remain under quarantine. In the Office of Mental Health/Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, approximately 35 employees are under orders to quarantine. Six OMH/OPWDD employees have tested positive for the virus. Of those six positive tests, two are hospitalized with one remaining in critical condition.

“We can be assured that the total of positive cases will increase. The numbers underscore the fact that our state facilities are on the cusp of a wide outbreak. This concern must be taken seriously, and certain measures must be put in place immediately to protect staff,” said Powers.

NYSCOPBA is urging the state to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to facility staff to help prevent the potential spread of the virus.

The union sent letters to various agencies in March requesting PPE and other preventative measures. Powers says the union is willing to pitch in to help cover costs.

“The dedicated members of NYSCOPBA are mandated to work on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis. I am calling on the Governor to make employee safety a priority and direct his state agencies to allow all staff members the ability to use basic personal protection equipment.

“If the state cannot pay for it, then allow NYSCOPBA to help.

“Each day that our members are prohibited from wearing protective equipment, they are exposed to being infected and spreading the virus inside and outside of the facilities. We recognize and appreciate that some of our concerns have been addressed. However, further delays to our reasonable requests to protect staff must not continue.

“The members of NYSCOPBA must be afforded the ability to protect themselves. The use of PPEs to limit our members from exposure and infection makes sense. Too much time has already passed. Every day we are discovering more positive tests for COVID-19.

“The state must act now before it is too late, and we’re faced with a bigger crisis inside the state’s prison and mental health systems,” said Powers.

In addition to the requests for PPE, NYSCOPBA is also seeking:

  • Protections for members considered vulnerable or high-risk
  • Accommodations for members who work in isolation units
  • Increased testing for staff, inmates and patients
  • Strict adherence to DOH and CDC guidelines
  • More stringent transportation and movement policies

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 423440

Reported Deaths: 32805
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City22916723610
Suffolk439871998
Nassau437952195
Westchester363571447
Rockland13973674
Orange11210491
Erie9033671
Monroe5079285
Dutchess4640153
Onondaga3627200
Albany2636128
Oneida2183115
Ulster208192
Niagara151898
Sullivan149148
Putnam145563
Broome115369
Schenectady108437
Rensselaer78230
Saratoga77417
Columbia55037
Madison41717
Ontario36534
Warren31233
Steuben30142
Fulton30024
Orleans29954
Greene29618
Genesee2805
Herkimer2784
St. Lawrence2634
Wayne2633
Chautauqua2609
Washington26014
Oswego2583
Tompkins2340
Chenango2186
Tioga19425
Chemung1843
Montgomery1794
Livingston1768
Cattaraugus1696
Cayuga1622
Jefferson1420
Clinton1294
Otsego1185
Wyoming1185
Delaware1074
Cortland970
Seneca923
Allegany801
Schoharie690
Yates587
Essex560
Franklin540
Lewis470
Schuyler220
Hamilton80
Unassigned00
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