April 11, 2020

Union County Commissioners, Evangelical Community Hospital, Geisinger respond to Bureau of Prisons potentially using Lewisburg Penitentiary as its COVID quarantine facility for transferred prisoners

Union County Commissioners, Evangelical Community Hospital, and Geisinger remain concerned about the potential impact of federal prisoners being transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg or the Federal Correctional Complex at Allenwood.

An influx of prisoners from regions with widespread COVID-19 outbreak will increase the risk of infection for the staff at the Union County-based facilities and thereby increase the risk of infection to the community at-large. In addition, an outbreak in the prison population has the potential to severely tax the resources of the healthcare providers in the region.

In March, the three entities jointly issued a written request for more information from the Bureau of Prisons.

“To date, we have not received a response to that request for information,” said Preston Boop, chairman of the Union County Commissioners. “We are working to confirm recent media reports regarding the use of the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg as a central distribution site for federal prisoners being transferred throughout the northeast region. We will consider our next steps based on our ability to confirm that information.”

“Our primary responsibility is the health and wellness of the community we serve,” said Kendra Aucker, CEO and President, Evangelical Community Hospital. “We continue to be concerned about the potential impact the transferring of federal prisoners potentially or actively infected with COVID-19 could have on our ability to see this community through the pandemic.”

“As a community we must act now to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our area. At Geisinger, we join the Union County Commissioners and Evangelical Community Hospital in calling on the Bureau of Federal Prisons to provide details on its prisoner transfer plans relative to facilities in our service area,” Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD, Geisinger President and CEO.