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Fewer Henrico jail inmates test positive for COVID-19 after outbreak

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 18:10:12-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Fewer inmates at Henrico Jail West and East have COVID-19 after nearly 200 inmates and 7 staffers previously tested positive for the virus, according to Henrico County Sheriff Alisa Gregory.

Officials said 70 inmates tested positive as of Friday. That comes after 198 inmates tested positive with "few exhibiting symptoms of infection" earlier this month, Gregory said.

Officials also noted 98 inmates that had tested positive have now tested negative twice and have been symptom-free for at least 14 days.

“We continue to work aggressively to contain this outbreak and are encouraged that our positive cases continue to trend downward,” Gregory said. “We have worked closely with Henrico County and the Virginia Department of Health to implement an aggressive testing regimen and have followed safety protocols to separate and isolate inmates to prevent further spread of the virus.”

Three inmates at Jail West first tested positive after showing mild symptoms on July 5.

As a result, 1,311 inmates were tested at both jails, but officials said all but two positive cases happened at Jail West.

Accordingly, those two Jail East inmates were moved to Jail West and quarantined, Gregory said.

Additionally, 167 jail staffers were tested. Seven tested positive and "are quarantining at home with only mild symptoms," officials said.

Gregory said 19 inmates who tested positive have been released since they completed their sentences.

"Those individuals were provided information from the Virginia Department of Health on how to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the virus," Gregory said.

The Henrico Sheriff's Office said the following safety measures have been in place since the start of the pandemic:

  • Screening all inmates, jail staff and contractors for potential symptoms before they enter the facilities
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of dayrooms and other common areas
  • Providing face coverings to all inmates
  • Isolating as a group all new inmates whose screenings indicate possible exposure
  • Isolating as a group all new inmates for at least 14 days before introducing them into the general population.