Families Worried About Loved Ones in COVID-19 Outbreak at Federal Prison in Seagoville

Families are worried for their loved ones who may be incarcerated at FCI Seagoville after more than 1,100 have tested positive and one person died.

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The federal prison in Seagoville has the largest outbreak of coronavirus of any federal prison in the country and on Friday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced that an inmate died due to complications from COVID-19.

There are 1,798 men who are housed at the facility, according to BOP and 1,132 inmates and nine staff have tested positive for the disease.

"A week ago he told me he had tested positive for it and he didn’t have any symptoms and was good so far, and then he called me yesterday and said he was having symptoms," said Angie Tatum of her brother, Rudolph, who is serving a 23-year sentence for a drug offense. “He can’t smell anything, he can't taste anything, he's having body aches.”

She said she's worried about her older brother given the situation and the fact someone died from complications last week.

According to a statement, the inmate who died was 65-year-old James Gianetta. He tested positive for COVID-19 on June 26 and two days later was evaluated at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Seagoville for shortness of breath and other respiratory issues.

BOP said the he was taken to the hospital, later placed on a ventilator and died on Thursday. He had a pre-existing medical condition and had been at the Seagoville facility since August of last year.

Gianetta was sentenced in the District of Massachusetts to serve a 167-month sentence for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

In a statement, BOP said in part, "The BOP is carefully monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As with any type of emergency situation, we carefully assess how to best ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public. All of our facilities, including FCI Seagoville, are implementing the BOP's guidance on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. That guidance can be found on our website."

The federal bureau said it was following CDC guidance and all inmates who are positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic are isolated and provided appropriate treatment.

BOP said all institutions, including FCI Seagoville, have areas set aside for quarantine and isolation. Currently, they are not utilizing tents at this location.

"The majority of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic (positive with no symptoms) and do not require the level of care offered in a hospital setting," BOP said in a statement.

"We are deeply concerned for the health and welfare of those inmates who are entrusted to our care, and for our staff, their families, and the communities we live and work in.  It is our highest priority to continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities," said the Bureau of Prisons in a statement.

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