Disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein has reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. According to The Niagara Gazette, Weinstein is in isolation at Wende Correctional Facility in western New York state. He is there serving his sentence for sexual assault.
Officials with the state prison system told reporters that Weinstein has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that is now a global pandemic. So far, Weinstein's representatives have not confirmed the news, but the sources said that he is one of two inmates in the prison who have tested positive. Weinstein is currently serving a sentence of 23 years for rape and sexual assault.
Officials reportedly told the Gazette that they believe Weinstein was already carrying the coronavirus when he entered the New York state prison system. He was sent from Rikers Island in New York City last Wednesday, and went to the intake center at Wende.
Many inmates are reportedly sent from Wende's intake center to other facilities after they have their medical and security status assessed. It is unclear how many other inmates and personnel he might have been exposed to while sick.
The president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA), Michael Powers, declined to comment on Weinstein's health when asked by reporters, saying it would violate privacy rules. However, he did comment on the state prison system's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Powers said that the union has urged all officials in the state corrections system to suspend all "non-essential" transfers of inmates from one facility to another. They have also been asked to stop the transportation of local jail prisoners to state prisons whenever possible. He admitted that prisons are highly susceptible to the outbreak.
"There is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility," said Powers.0comments
Powers also confirmed that three state corrections officers have tested positive for COVID-19, and others who were in contact with them are now being monitored as well. In total, 58 officers are being monitored, he said.
Weinstein was sentenced to prison last week after years-long trial for charges of rape and sexual assault. He was found guilty on one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree. He was sentenced to a total of 23 years in prison, which his attorneys complained was effectively a life sentence for a man of his age and health status.