SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Corrections reports the 17th coronavirus-related death at Deerfield Correctional Center, a facility that is home to many geriatric and medically impaired offenders.
That is an increase of seven deaths in the last week.
The department also reports 265 current COVID-19 cases among prisoners at the facility, as of Monday evening. The Southampton County facility has the most COVID-19 related deaths in any Virginia DOC facility.
Figures posted on a website Monday also showed that 30 staff members at Deerfield also currently are positive for COVID-19. Staff from other prisons have been brought in to help run Deerfield.
Deerfield houses the state’s largest group of geriatric male inmates. Many have serious health conditions and reside in assisted living or nursing home environments.
The DOC reports that Deerfield houses about 925 inmates.
“The department’s pandemic response plan consists of more than 900 pages of documents addressing every situation we have faced during this pandemic,” VADOC Director Harold Clarke said in a release last week. “We responded to the outbreak at Deerfield with months of knowledge and best practices that we’ve developed since the beginning of the pandemic. As we’ve witnessed in nursing homes everywhere, the offender population at Deerfield is unfortunately more vulnerable to the coronavirus.”
The VADOC says they have taken a "comprehensive approach" to mitigate the spread of the virus treat those infected at Deerfield. Some of those actions include:
- VADOC Health Services Unit and Armor Correctional Health - the healthcare provider for DFCC - increased staffing to monitor and care for patients. Additional physicians, nurse practitioners, nursing leadership and other support staff are on-site. Fourteen critical care nurses, fourteen correctional nurses and seven nursing assistants were recently hired to support existing staff. Ambulance services are on site seven days a week.
- Additional security staff have been sent to DFCC to support operations.
- A mobile kitchen and additional food service staff were deployed to assist with meal preparation.
- On top of daily sanitation routines, the Enhanced Sanitation Team performed extensive cleanings at DFCC twice during the month of September with another extensive cleaning scheduled to take place before the end of the month.
- A mobile shower unit is on-site for use by offenders in areas of the facility designated for isolation.
- Offenders at DFCC have received more than 25,000 bars of soap since mid-March and hand sanitizer stations are available in the infirmary and assisted living quarters.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) is readily available for offenders and staff at DFCC. To date, nearly 4,800 sneeze guards have been issued along with more than 3,100 surgical masks. Both are available for replacement upon request. More than 1150 KN/N95 masks have been distributed to DFCC.
- All medical staff are wearing N95 masks and all kitchen staff are wearing KN95 masks.
- VADOC ensures consistent monitoring of inmates and staff for PPE and sanitation compliance.
For more COVID-19 updates from the Virginia Department of Corrections, click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.