UPDATE: WV DCR releases statement on SRJ COVID-19 response

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — 9:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 2020: The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation released a statement regarding the positive COVID-19 cases at the Southern Regional Jail.

According to the DCR, Southern Regional Jail only reported one active case among inmates on Friday, August 7, 2020. Seven employees, including contract workers, also tested positive. Those employees are quarantined at home until they test negative. There are now 27 pending COVID-19 tests.

The DCR said it is remaining vigilant during the COVID-19 pandemic. All inmates and employees are closely monitored and symptomatic individuals are tested. Inmates are also tested before they are released on parole or whenever they complete their sentences. New inmates are also quarantined when they first arrive to the jail.

The DCR also said there are some challenges associated with making sure facilities are safe. The jail’s overall population on Friday was 727. The facility has built-in bunks for 468 people. Nearly 420 of the jail’s inmates, or 57 percent, are pretrial defendants. Because of the high COVID-19 risk, the WV Supreme Court called on judges to consider lesser bonds for pre-trial individuals who are not a risk to public safety. According to the DCR, SRJ’s population now exceeds what is was when that guidance was issued.

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — 12 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 2020: An additional positive test for COVID-19 is reported among the staff of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR). According to the latest report there are now 10 employees with the virus. Another 71 tests are pending. The report does not state at which facility the positive cases among the staff are located.

At the Southern Regional Jail (SRJ) testing continues. No new positives were identified between Thursday and Friday. There are now 11 tests pending. SRJ has the only two active cases among inmates in the Regional Jail at this time.

DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch responded to questions from 59News about the situation at SRJ. He stated there were 34 inmates who were exposed. Those are being isolated and other were being tested on Friday to determine if more needs to be done.

10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020: The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) and Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) are updating the status of testing at DCR facilities daily. As of Wednesday afternoon, there was an additional staff member diagnosed with the virus.

The total staff members, including contract employees with COVID-19 is now nine. That is up one from Tuesday’s report. There are 41 tests pending among the employees. The locations of the positive cases are not stated in the report.

The situation at the Southern Regional Jail (SRJ) changed marginally. There are two additional inmates in quarantine for 125, but no new inmates have tested positive. An additional test was returned as a negative; seven tests are pending.

There is one inmate who tested positive at SRJ who is subject to be released as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The DCR stated in their report all necessary notifications are provided before the inmate is released.

Quarantine is defined as inmates/residents not showing symptoms but separated because they are new intakes, back from a hospital for unrelated reasons, etc.

10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020: The Southern Regional Jail is now reporting two inmates have COVID-19. There are eight tests pending with 123 inmates in quarantine.

These are the only active cases in the regional jail system according the latest report from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).

Among the employees, there are eight positive cases and 41 tests pending. The DHHR did not breakdown where the positive cases among the staff were identified. This does include contract staff members.

Employee figures reflect testing conducted by DCR’s medical services providers, and any offsite testing reported to DCR. These figures also include DCR employees not assigned to a facility, such as parole officers.

ORIGINAL STORY – 3:13 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, 2020: The West Virginia Division of Corrections announced there is a positive case of COVID-19 at the Southern Regional Jail. According to a report posted by the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) this is the only active case in the WV prison system.

There are nine pending tests at the jail and 108 inmates are under quarantine. Retesting was done at Southern Regional Jail and confirmed the positive test.

Among the other jails in southeastern West Virginia, there are nine inmates at Mount Olive Correctional Complex who are in quarantine. There are two inmates at the McDowell County Correctional Center in quarantine.

Across the entire West Virginia correctional system there are two employees who tested positive for COVID-19. There is no word on where they were working. There are 37 employees with pending tests.

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