Mass testing to begin in Henrico jail after 3 inmates test positive for COVID-19

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Up to 200 people at Henrico County’s Jail West are expected to be tested for COVID-19 after three inmates tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

The infected inmates were confirmed positive after six inmates, who had complained of mild symptoms, were tested in total, according to a release from the county’s sheriff’s office. Due to the three positive tests, 79 additional inmates, 80 to 100 staff members and 24 medical staff members will be tested.

“The Henrico County Sheriff’s Office is committed to protecting the health and well-being of those in our custody as well as our dedicated, hardworking staff,” Sheriff Alisa A. Gregory said in a statement.

The three inmates who tested positive, all males who were committed in June, have mild symptoms such as fever or malaise. The county said all three passed an initial screening and were put with other new inmates, “whose assigned cells have access to a shared dayroom.”

The six inmates who were tested are being quarantined in single-bed cells and the other 79 inmates will be isolated from the jail’s general population until they are symptom free for at least 14 days and their tests have come back negative. The jail could divide the inmates up into smaller group to limit the spread of the virus, the release states.

The jail outlined a list of its precautions:

  • 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 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.

“We continue to monitor the inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are initiating tests of all others who may have been exposed. When the pandemic began, we adopted a series of safety measures to be able to quickly identify cases of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from spreading.”


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