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Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the coronavirus while in prison, an official briefed on the matter confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
Weinstein was immediately taken into custody upon conviction. Before he entered New York City's jail system, he was treated at Bellevue Hospital and was later transferred to Rikers Island jail in New York City.
After his March 11 sentencing to 23 years, he was again taken to Bellevue Hospital, and later transferred back to Rikers as he waited to be moved to a state prison.
Rikers is facing one of the country's worst reported coronavirus outbreaks, with at least 38 people testing positive as of last week.
On March 19, Weinstein was taken to a maximum-security prison outside Buffalo, Wende Correctional Facility, in the town of Alden in Erie County.
A spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision refused to comment on Weinstein because of privacy laws, though the spokesperson did say two inmates at the facility have tested positive.
"The Department cannot comment on an individual’s medical record. However, we can confirm that two of the Department’s approximately 43,000 incarcerated individuals, both at Wende Correctional Facility, have confirmed cases. With each confirmed case, DOCCS worked with the Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals in order to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus," the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
Juda Engelmayer, a spokesman for Weinstein, said Monday that state officials have been "extremely responsive and caring about the situation, and we want to point out that at no time did the NYSDOCCS make any statement or issue a comment regarding Mr. Weinstein’s current health condition, for which we are incredibly grateful. Any statements that have been made were not made or authorized by the Department of Corrections and could be considered a violation of HIPAA regulations.
"At this time, we will neither confirm nor deny whether Mr. Weinstein has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. While his team is now fully aware of his current medical condition, since Mr. Weinstein executed the proper Dept. of Corrections Healthcare Information Release Form, we are going to continue protecting his privacy and maintain his privacy," Engelmayer said. "As such, we will not discuss this matter any further."
Additional reporting by Tanya Chen and Claudia Koerner.