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: 364965

Reported Deaths: 29484
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City19996821362
Nassau400342137
Suffolk392581861
Westchester331861352
Rockland13047626
Orange10292443
Erie5810504
Dutchess3847138
Monroe2791198
Onondaga2033127
Albany179676
Ulster164574
Sullivan134030
Putnam122758
Niagara97263
Oneida92946
Schenectady67329
Broome52844
Rensselaer46628
Saratoga46511
Columbia38032
Madison31010
Warren25226
Steuben24141
Greene23118
Washington22813
Orleans21033
St. Lawrence2002
Fulton19818
Ontario1989
Genesee1954
Tompkins1550
Chemung1361
Chenango1250
Tioga12421
Livingston1187
Wayne1103
Herkimer1053
Oswego1053
Clinton954
Montgomery824
Wyoming825
Cattaraugus820
Cayuga801
Chautauqua784
Delaware784
Jefferson720
Otsego695
Seneca550
Schoharie490
Allegany450
Yates396
Cortland390
Essex360
Lewis200
Franklin200
Schuyler110
Hamilton50
Unassigned00
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