Kaiser Health News: Under COVID Cloud, Prisons In Rural America Threaten To Choke Rural Hospitals

EXCERPT: “Almost 70% of the nation’s more than 1,100 prisons are located outside of metropolitan areas, according to 2017 research by John M. Eason, an associate professor in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A building boom occurred from 1980 through 1999 as struggling towns eyed prisons as economic salvations. But in many of those same communities, rural hospitals that would be tasked to care for inmates during a pandemic have since struggled, with more than 120 rural hospitals closing nationwide in the past decade . . . It is not just the inmates behind bars, but also the people in the surrounding community, many of whom work at the facilities, who would be at risk. The employees leaving prisons and jails daily could spread the virus to inmates on the inside and community members on the outside. Already such rural communities on average have sicker and older populations than the rest of the country, even before considering the added risk of close-quartered prisons and jails.” FULL STORY: https://fluence-media.co/2Z5qbeS