Harvey Weinstein and virus

Harvey Weinstein, 68.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials connected with the state prison system said Sunday.

They said Weinstein’s COVID-19 test result was confirmed at the Wende Correction Facility in Erie County when he was transferred from Rikers Island Jail in New York City on Wednesday for processing into the New York prison system.

He was isolated at the Wende facility in western New York on Thursday, the day of his 68th birthday, along with another Wende inmate who tested positive, the officials told CNHI.

Weinstein was sent to the Wende facility for medical and mental examinations before his permanent assignment to a prison in the New York correctional system.

The officials who said Weinstein has tested positive spoke to CNHI on the condition of anonymity, noting they were not authorized to publicly comment on his health.

Weinstein was sentenced March 11. A Manhattan jury convicted him Feb. 24 on charges of rape in the third degree for assaulting an actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, and for committing a criminal sex act by forcing oral sex on a former production assistant in 2006.

Weinstein contended the sex was consensual, and his lawyers have vowed to appeal his conviction.

More than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman, accused Weinstein of sexual assault and sexual harassment during his career as one of Hollywood’s most celebrated producers, including winning an Oscar for the movie “Shakespeare in Love.”

His conviction has been hailed as a defining moment in the national #MeToo movement.

During his trial, Weinstein alternated between Rikers Island Jail and a New York City hospital, where he underwent treatment for high blood pressure and chest pains.

People over 60 years of age with underlying health issues are considered the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, said he could not comment on Weinstein's situation or elaborate on any inmate's health record due to privacy rules.

Powers acknowledged the union has urged state prison officials to immediately suspend all "non-essential" transfers of inmates from one state facility to another as well as the transporting of local jail prisoners to the state prisons during the coronavirus health emergency.

"There is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility," said Powers.

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the agency overseeing state facilities, announced last week it is suspending all visits to prison inmates to counter the spread of the virus.

Powers said three state corrections officers are among those who have tested positive and numerous officers throughout the system are being monitored after coming in contact with people believed to have been infected.

Joe Mahoney is the CNHI state reporter for New York. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com.

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