Things have returned to normal at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility after being locked down during a medical scare, Bureau of Corrections Director Julius Wilson said Wednesday.
The prison was put on lockdown Friday after an inmate became sick with symptoms that health officials said might have been meningitis. The inmate was taken to the Gov. Juan F. Luis Memorial Hospital for tests and the prison was secured to prevent a possible spread of the disease.
According to the medical staff of the prison, the male inmate complained Thursday of a loss of appetite as well as stomach and muscular pain, which can be symptoms of the disease. A staff physician prescribed medication for the symptoms but the inmate did not show any improvement and medical staff transferred him the hospital for further evaluation.
Meningitis is contagious, although according to the Centers for Disease Control, not as contagious as the common cold or flu. It can be transmitted through droplets of respiratory secretions during close contact, but cannot be spread by only breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. Meningitis can be life-threatening because it causes an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges.
A closed community in which many people live in close quarters – such as a prison – would be an ideal environment for passing the disease, so prison officials took no chances and ordered the lockdown.
On Wednesday, Wilson said that the tests of the inmate were negative for meningitis.
Wilson reiterated that the case was isolated and that all precautions were taken to ensure inmate and staff safety.
“The attending physician at Luis Hospital notified the Bureau of Corrections medical director and provided the results of the testing which were ‘negative’ for meningitis," Wilson said Wednesday. "At this point the bureau has exhausted the administrative process. Normal operations have resumed at the Golden Grove facility. We will continue to monitor the affected inmate as well as all other inmates for signs of similar symptoms or complaints.”