Sheriff’s Office to offer testing to all inmates, staff plus those recently released
Forty-three additional inmates at Henrico County’s Jail West have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in mass testing conducted this week after three inmates were diagnosed with the disease.
Of the 43 inmates who tested positive, nine are experiencing mild symptoms while the others remain asymptomatic. In addition, 26 inmates and 18 jail staff tested negative. Results are pending on more than 100 other staff and contractors. Eight inmates refused testing.
To limit further spread of the coronavirus, the Sheriff’s Office has separated as a group the inmates who have tested positive and is preparing to test all inmates and staff at Henrico’s Jail West and Jail East. As of today, the county has 594 inmates at Jail West and 537 at Jail East.
The Sheriff’s Office also is offering to test individuals who may have been exposed while incarcerated at Jail West. Anyone released on or after June 20 is eligible to receive free testing for COVID-19. For information, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 501-4571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working with the Virginia Department of Health and other county agencies, the Sheriff’s Office initiated the mass testing Tuesday, after receiving test results from six inmates who were assigned to cells that shared access to a dayroom.
Of those six inmates, three tested positive for COVID-19, with two of them exhibiting mild symptoms, such as a low-grade fever and malaise.
“Following the guidance of health experts and county officials, the Sheriff’s Office is taking aggressive steps to identify and control this outbreak of COVID-19,” Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory said. “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our hardworking staff and others who work in the jails as well as those in our custody.”
Henrico’s jails introduced a series of precautionary measures at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which 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 new 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.