A federal court has denied a request to delay the release and transfer of medically vulnerable inmates from Elkton Federal Prison in Columbiana County.

On Monday, a three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously denying the Federal Bureau of Prisons' request to delay the transfer and release of 837 medically-vulnerable prisoners from FCI Elkton.

The ACLU of Ohio and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center brought this class action on April 13.

The Bureau of Prisons reports 7 inmate deaths and 88 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates, along with 49 cases involving staff members.

"Today's decision again confirms the urgent need to respond to the crisis unfolding at Elkton. Lives of prisoners, prison staff, and the community depend on swift action to move the most vulnerable people away from the COVID-19 outbreak before it is too late," said David Carey, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Ohio.

"We applaud the Sixth Circuit's order," said David Singleton, Executive Director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. "The court's ruling is grounded in precedent and allows this litigation to proceed with the urgency that this life-and-death situation demands."

Per the court's order, "The district court found that Elkton's dorm-style structure rendered it unable to implement or enforce social distancing. The COVID-19 virus, now a pandemic, is highly contagious… Older individuals or those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to experience complications requiring significant medical intervention and are more likely to die.