More than 100 inmates, 6 staff members test positive for COVID-19 at Western Tidewater Regional Jail

Posted at 7:33 PM, Oct 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 17:30:29-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - Western Tidewater Regional Jail reports over 100 inmates and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

On September 8, the jail had its first inmate test positive for COVID-19.

After 19 additional inmates tested positive, the jail moved forward with testing all staff and inmates at the facility.

The testing was conducted on September 30 and jail officials say the facility was placed on a locked down status while awaiting results.

According to officials, of the 756 inmates housed at the facility, 109 tested positive. Two of the offenders had inconclusive test results and the jail says they will be retested.

Of the 180 staff and contractors employed at the facility, six tested positive.

Immediately after receiving the results on Saturday, the jail says those who tested positive were isolated from the general population. The jail also remain on a lock-down status.

"It’s a difficult thing to contain," said Jail Superintendent William Smith, "The large majority of the individuals are asymptomatic and have no symptoms at all. There are very few individuals that have symptoms and most of those are very mild."

Officials say the vast majority of COVID-19 positive offenders and staff were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. As of Saturday, offenders or staff are currently hospitalized.

The jails say all affected employees were placed on emergency paid leave and all offenders continue to be appropriately treated by medical staff, who provide 24/7 on-site medical care. If any offender requires care beyond that, they will be transferred to the hospital.