RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Department of Corrections recently began weekly COVID-19 testing of infirmary staff as well as continuing to aggressively test inmates and staff.
“We have been at the testing forefront throughout the pandemic, thanks to the tireless work of our medical directors and staff and our partners around the state,” said VADOC Director Harold Clarke. “With the new weekly testing at four facilities that have infirmaries and the upcoming antigen testing, we continue to do everything we can to fight the spread of this relentless pandemic.”
In addition, the department says they will conduct routine mass testing at all facilities across the Commonwealth. Testing will occur every four months in dormitory styled housing, every six months for celled housing and every three months in infirmary sites.
The department is also rolling out antigen point of care testing, which has a rapid turnaround time.
The department says they have purchased the antigen point of care tests and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machines and will bring them into service once staff are properly trained.
VADOC says offenders testing positive are placed in medical isolation so they don't infect others and treatment follows the department's COVID-19 medical guidelines. If an inmate requires an inpatient level of care, the inmate goes to a hospital.
All DOC facilities are said to be following a pandemic sanitation plan, and offenders and staff are required to wear appropriate PPE at all times, including medical-grade PPE, such as N-95 masks, when appropriate. Virginia Correctional Enterprises manufactures both utility face masks and cleaning supplies approved by the EPA for use in combating the coronavirus, ensuring no shortage of either in the facilities.