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Review prisons, add needed safeguards

When COVID-19 invaded Ohio about four months ago, virtually no one was ready for it. Had we known then what we know now — lives could have been saved.

Our ability to combat the coronavirus has improved dramatically. But in one of the most at-risk populations in Ohio — state prisons — accusations are being made that officials are not doing all they could to guard against the disease. Some of those claims were directed toward officials at the prison in Elkton.

A union representing many state corrections personnel is demanding improved response by state officials. Their chief complaint seems to be lack of effective personal protective equipment such as N-95 face masks.

Already throughout the state prison system, five corrections personnel have succumbed to COVID-19.

State officials should be doing all they can to safeguard both prison employees and inmates. As we have pointed out previously, their own wellbeing is important — but widespread infection at such a facility can be transmitted quickly to people in the surrounding area.

Gov. Mike DeWine should order a review of COVID-19 safeguards at state prisons. If more protective equipment is needed, it should be furnished.

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