One week after the Department of Correction confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the city's jail system, there are now 120 people who have tested positive for the virus, including 75 incarcerated people, 37 DOC staff members, and eight people who work in Correctional Health Services.

“Everyone is scared for their life,” an inmate on Rikers, Junior Wilson, 57, said during a call with his wife, who shared a recording of the conversation during a press call on Tuesday. Wilson uses a pacemaker and has asthma. “You know, a lot of us are in here on non-violent crimes: misdemeanors, parole violations. And we are begging—we are begging—for help.”

On Tuesday night, de Blasio said 75 incarcerated people had been released from city custody. A total of 551 are serving city sentences, meaning less than a year, which de Blasio would have authority to release. Of those, the city intends to release the 300 who are serving less than a year for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, including those more than 70-years-old. The mayor said the city is not going to consider inmates with domestic violence or sex crime offenses for release.

Another group of about 100 people older than 70 with underlying medical conditions require additional action from district attorneys. About 700 others have violated the terms of their state parole—which could mean breaking a curfew or missing a meeting. Releasing those people requires state approval.

“I am certainly trying to strike this balance between the humanitarian need to get everyone that we can get appropriately out of our jail system out and be mindful that there are also real public safety concerns here,” de Blasio said.

The outbreak in the jail system, which includes Rikers Island, has been steadily increasing since last week. Advocates, healthcare professionals, and elected officials have been pressuring officials to move more quickly on releasing more people from custody to prevent what a former medical chief officer for Rikers called a “looming disaster.” THE CITY news outlet also reported that a group of inmates on Rikers were pepper-sprayed for seeking medical care.

There are about 5,400 people in the city’s jail system, which includes Rikers’ facilities, the Manhattan Detention Complex, and the Vernon C. Bain Center, a barge that serves as Bronx’s detention facility. City officials have not answered questions about whether COVID-19 cases have been confirmed beyond Rikers.

The city has reopened the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers, previously closed as a part of a long term plan to close Rikers Island. The center would serve as an intake facility for men showing symptoms as well as for overflow of symptomatic people already in custody, according to the DOC.

The DOC is ensuring there is an empty bed between inmates for social distancing, but when it is not possible, people sleep in head-to-toe arrangements. Visits were banned beginning March 18th, and DOC staff who have tested positive are in self-quarantine.

One inmate has tested positive with COVID-19 at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and a second in the Manhattan facility, Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. The Times reports that three youths at a Bronx juvenile detention center tested positive for the virus, though none have tested positive at a Brooklyn center. Twenty juvenile offenders were released to their families.

With Yasmeen Khan.