RICHMOND, Va. – An inmate at the Central Virginia Correctional Unit 13 for women in Chesterfield has tested positive for COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Corrections confirmed Friday.
The inmate is the fourth DOC inmate to test positive in the state. The three other cases are at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women (VCCW) in Goochland.
Additionally, four VADOC employees (+1 since Monday’s update) and one contractor have tested positive for COVID-19.
The infected employees include one officer at the State Farm Correctional Complex; one officer in training at VCCW; one officer at Indian Creek Correctional Center; and one employee at the Norfolk Probation and Parole office. The contractor is a contract nurse at VCCW.
The VADOC says they are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for corrections and are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health.
“Sneeze/cough guard masks manufactured by Virginia Correctional Enterprises have been provided to each staff member and offender,” a VDOC spokesperson said. “Staff members and offenders are required to wear their VCE masks unless wearing another form of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) mask. The sneeze/cough guard mask is providing an added level of protection but isn’t worn in place of PPE in situations where PPE is required.
Officials say everyone who enters any VADOC correctional facility are screened using infrared/temporal artery thermometers.
“While visitation and volunteer activities at correctional facilities are cancelled due to the pandemic, video visitation, email, and phone calls are available to offenders,” the spokesperson added.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.