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BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections on Tuesday suspended both inmate visitation and volunteering at all eight state-run prisons amid a recent surge in COVID-19 infections statewide.

The measures take effect immediately and will remain in place until at least Aug. 16., KLFY reported.

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“The Department has taken this precautionary measure to protect its staff and prisoner populations and will review and reconsider the need for these measures on August 16, 2021,” the department stated in a news release.

According to KADN, prisoners will still be allotted two free phone calls per week to “ensure inmates have continued connection to family and friends during this event.” Video calling will also remain available to inmates for a fee.

Meanwhile, all staff and vendors entering the facilities will be screened with temperature checks and routine medical questions, KLFY reported.

According to the news release, roughly 68% of inmates incarcerated in Louisiana’s state-run prisons have voluntarily chosen to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and the department continues to make vaccinations available to all inmates.

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