RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Corrections announced Monday, April 20, it is going to increase testing of incarcerated offenders after almost 140 inmates have contracted COVID-19.

The VADOC said it has ordered hundreds of tests and VCU, UVA and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services are sending hundreds more on top of the ones ordered to VADOC facilities. In addition, the Virginia Department of Health is sending staff to VADOC facilities to administer these tests to inmates.

The announcement said the Virginia DOC said in addition to testing symptomatic prisoners, they have begun point prevalence testing on asymptomatic offenders.

Getting ahead of cases by testing offenders who aren’t showing symptoms will likely cause the VADOC offender case numbers to increase significantly, just as in the community, where an increase in testing results in more positives. This increase in testing will give the VADOC a better picture of what is happening at each of Virginia’s correctional facilities and will allow us to reduce the spread of the virus.

Virginia Department of Corrections

They say this has been done at Harrisonburg CCAP and Haynesville Correctional Center, and it will start at Deerfield Correctional Center this week.

Deerfield Correctional Center, with a large at-risk population, is following CDC guidelines for long-term care facilities in its assisted living unit and its infirmary. To protect our geriatric and at-risk offenders to the greatest extent possible, the VADOC medical team is working with the state’s eastern regional health department, local health department, health department emergency management, VADOC security operations, Armor Correctional Health Services, UVA, and VCU to test the entire facility and staff. This will begin today, and 1600 tests will be needed.

Virginia Department of Corrections

Currently, there are 116 active cases of coronavirus among inmates and 50 among staff. 434 VADOC offenders have been tested for the virus and in total 139 offenders got the virus. Here’s the breakdown of active cases:

  • Brunswick CCAP — 1 staff member
  • Central Virginia Correctional Unit #13 — 22 inmates, 2 staff members
  • Deerfield Correctional Center (includes Deerfield Work Centers) — 3 staff members
  • Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women –1 staff member
  • Harrisonburg Men’s CCAP — 17 inmates
  • Haynesville Correctional Center — 44 inmates, 1 hospitalized offender, 1 staff member
  • State Farm Correctional Complex — 2 staff members
  • Sussex II State Prison — 12 inmates, 2 hospitalized offenders, 3 staff members
  • Virginia Correctional Center for Women (includes State Farm Work Center) — 13 inmates, 5 hospitalized offenders, 1 death, 35 staff members
  • Probation & Parole, Eastern Region — 2 staff members

To learn more about what the VADOC is doing to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 click here.