NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk City Jail reports 32 cases of coornavirus as of Friday afternoon.
According to Norfolk City Jail officials, 27 inmates and 5 deputies have tested positive for COVID-19.
Sherriff Joe Baron is now requiring testing for all Sheriff's Office employees and Norfolk City Jail inmates.
Sentara Healthcare administered about 72 tests to inmates living on and staff working on the same floor as the first inmate to test positive for coronavirus.
"This aggressive and proactive testing is the only way to identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus,” Sheriff Joe Baron said. “Global pandemics pose a high risk to congregant-style facilities such as jails, and we cannot fight against an invisible enemy. Now that we have confirmed COVID-19 is in the Norfolk City Jail, it is imperative that we understand how far reaching it is. This will help us to develop a comprehensive plan to protect our inmates and staff. We will continue to work closely with the Norfolk Health Department and the Virginia Department of Health and follow their guidance."
Since early March, Norfolk City Jail have increased measures of cleaning by:
• Constant cleaning and sanitation of high-contact areas of the Norfolk City Jail
• Temperature screening of employees before starting their shifts
• Screening of new arrests before being booked into the jail
• Placing all new admits in a 14-day observation area
• Requiring all jail staff wear masks
• Requiring all jail staff to wear PPE when necessary
• Established a reserve force of deputies
• Limit public access to the jail – such as canceling visitation and volunteer programs
• Working with consolidated courts, Norfolk Public Defender’s Office and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to reduce jail population