Virginia Department of Corrections tests over 1/3 of state's inmates

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 27, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Corrections is leading the way in aggressively testing incarcerated offenders for COVID-19.

The Virginia DOC has tested more than one-third of the state’s approximately 29,000 offenders, according to officials.

Most offenders being tested have no symptoms and the DOC says they are conducting point prevalence testing to catch cases before there are any symptoms.

Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, which currently has zero cases among offenders and staff, Sussex I State Prison, and State Farm Correctional Complex are all being tested this week.

In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia National Guard, Armor Correctional Health Services, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, and the use of several private labs, the DOC was able to test more than 11,000 offenders.

“We are asking for an enormous, unprecedented undertaking on the part of our health care staff as well as our security and administrative staff during this time,” said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “From adhering to a comprehensive pandemic response manual to all the test tracking that has to be done by hand, as the Department doesn’t have an electronic health care records system, we have made a commitment to do everything we possibly can to keep our staff and offenders safe during this global pandemic.”

At Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, nearly 3,000 offenders and all staff were tested. Less than 200 offenders tested positive.

Virginia DOC says all Virginia DOC facilities are following the DOC’s 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.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.