79 other inmates, more than 100 jail staff to be tested for possible exposure
Three inmates at Henrico County’s Jail West have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 after six inmates were tested over the weekend following complaints of mild symptoms of the disease.
As a result of the confirmed cases, 79 additional inmates as well as 80 to 100 members of the jail’s sworn staff and 24 members of its medical staff will be tested for the coronavirus. The testing is being coordinated by the Sheriff’s Office with support from the Virginia Department of Health and other county agencies. The cases are the first ones reported in Henrico’s jails.
The three male inmates who tested positive Sunday continue to experience mild symptoms, such as a low-grade fever or malaise. Two were committed to the jail June 19; one June 24. They passed an initial screening for COVID-19 and were housed with other new inmates whose assigned cells have access to a shared dayroom.
Under protocols established by the Sheriff’s Office in mid-March for COVID-19, the six inmates tested over the weekend are being quarantined in single-bed cells. The remaining 79 inmates will continue to be isolated from the jail’s general population until they have tested negative and are symptom free for at least 14 days. Based on the results of the upcoming tests, those inmates may be divided into smaller groups to further limit potential spread of the virus.
“The Henrico County Sheriff’s Office is committed to protecting the health and well-being of those in our custody as well as our dedicated, hardworking staff,” Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory said. “We continue to monitor the inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are initiating tests of all others who may have been exposed. When the pandemic began, we adopted a series of safety measures to be able to quickly identify cases of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from spreading.”
The precautions at Henrico’s jails include:
- Screening all inmates, jail staff and contractors for potential symptoms before they enter the facilities
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of dayrooms and other common areas
- Providing face coverings to all inmates
- Isolating as a group all inmates whose screenings indicate possible exposure
- Isolating as a group all new inmates for at least 14 days before introducing them into the general population.