Gov. Northam urges federal authorities to provide more screening, testing at Virginia’s ICE detention centers

Virginia News

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam listens as he prepares to speak to a group of volunteers to distribute supplies at health equity community event Tuesday May 12, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam wrote a letter Thursday asking members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation to urge the federal government to increase COVID-19 screening and testing at ICE detention centers in the commonwealth.

In the letter, Gov. Northam expressed concern over the health of employees, contractors and people detained at Farmville and Caroline County Detention Centers.

“I am writing to urge the federal government to implement additional screening and testing for COVID-19. These are congregated settings where the virus, once introduced, could spread rapidly,” Gov. Northam wrote.

Northam said that the Virginia Department of Health would be happy to support point prevalance testing at these facilities.

“Increased testing will help to slow the spread by identifying those in the facility that need to be isolated and treated, and prevent it from getting out into the communities where the facility is located,” Northam added.

Detention centers are not licensed by the State Health Commissioner, Northam wrote in the letter. Therefore, the commissioner would need to get authority first in order to determine compliance administered by the Virginia Department of Health.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.

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