Harvey Weinstein in prison isolation with coronavirus
Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for COVID-19, and is currently in an isolation unit in a New York state prison, Variety has confirmed.
Weinstein’s team would not confirm or deny his health status, citing privacy concerns, but Variety has confirmed the positive test results through an anonymous New York state prison official.
“The prison is well aware of the situation. They are doing everything they can to make sure he’s safe and being taken care of,” Weinstein’s spokesman, Juda Engelmayer, tells Variety.
Seven prison employees who were in direct contact with Weinstein were also put into quarantine to avoid spreading the virus, sources tell Variety.
Weinstein is being housed at the Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison outside Buffalo, N.Y., after being found guilty on two charges of a criminal sex act and rape in the third degree.
“We’re pretty confident that he’s probably tested positive, but we haven’t gotten confirmation,” the prison official previously told Variety. “From what we understand, he did receive a test recently. We’re basing it off of solid information that he has contracted the virus.”
The New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association union has asked state corrections officials to suspend all non-essential inmate transfers from one state facility to another to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. As for Weinstein, the prison source says, “The state failed to follow our instructions not to transport inmates from facility to facility.”
Weinstein had been transferred from Rikers Island in New York City to Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo last week. Weinstein also spent time at Bellevue Hospital over the past two weeks where he was being monitored for chest pains, immediately following his 23-year sentencing. Prior to his sentencing, but after he was found guilty by a jury, Weinstein was at Bellevue where he underwent a heart procedure to remove a blockage.
New York City hospitals, like Bellevue, have been experiencing a unsustainable surge in patients, as Manhattan is the epicenter of the pandemic. On Monday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo said nearly 21,000 cases have been confirmed in New York state with 12,000 of those cases in New York City.
In California and other states, low-level offenders are being released from prison, in addition to elderly and sickly inmates, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus throughout the prison system. Weinstein, who has been convicted on both rape and a criminal sex act, clearly is not a low-level offender.
Weinstein turned 68-years-old last week in prison, so given his age and poor health conditions, he is a high-risk individual with the coronavirus. He is currently serving a 23-year term in New York, and is facing charges in Los Angeles as well. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office began the extradition process late last week, signaling plans to move forward with the L.A. trial.
Gene Maddaus contributed to this report.