First inmate in WV tests positive for COVID-19

West Virginia

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UPDATE 5/19/2020: The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation has enlisted the WV National Guard and the Bureau for Public Health to increase COVID-19 testing at the Huttonsville Correctional Center, after an inmate was confirmed positive overnight.

The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety says the 62-year-old male is in good condition in medical isolation. His is the first confirmed case among inmates at West Virginia’s DCR facilities.

The positive inmate had exhibited symptoms, triggering testing under DCR’s response plan for COVID-19. DMAPS and Governor Justice say Huttonsville will now expand this testing, starting with the inmate’s now-quarantined housing unit, slated to begin Wednesday. The Bureau for Public Health and DCR’s medical provider, Wexford Health Sources, will provide the necessary equipment and personnel while the National Guard assists to make testing available to all officers and staff.

DMAPS says the case is believed unrelated to that of a temporary, part-time employee at the facility who tested positive over the weekend. That employee had supervised three other inmates from a separate housing unit. Those three inmates have since tested negative and the employee is at home in good condition.

All DCR facilities including Huttonsville have followed the agency’s response plan throughout the pandemic. DMAPS says the policy follows CDC recommendations and includes preventative and precautionary measures such as restricted movement within facilities to avoid contact between housing units; curtailed inter-facility movement and transports; sanitization of areas for eating and gathering after each use; more frequent cleaning of high-touch areas; and isolation and quarantine protocols both for new arrivals and for inmates who exhibit symptoms.

The facilities also all have quantities of personal protective equipment, including enough cloth protective face coverings for every inmate and staff member. All staff members are required to wear masks. That requirement has now been extended to Huttonsville’s inmates as well.

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says an inmate in West Virginia has tested positive for COVID-19.

The governor says a 62-year-old male has tested positive at the Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County. The announcement follows the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS) said last night a part-time employee at Huttonsville had also tested positive, the second corrections employee in the state confirmed to have the virus. Justice says it is believed the two cases are not connected to one another.

Justice says all inmates in the block where the inmate was located as well as all facility staff will be tested for the virus. If more positive cases are found through testing conducted today, May 19, the testing will expand to include all inmates in the facility.

“We have had wonderful blessings that we have not had an issue in our jail systems,” Justice says. “We knew it was probably coming, and when it came, we’re trying to run to the fire and put it out as quickly as possible.”

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