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MRRJ reports 15 inmates, 25 officers test positive for COVID-19

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 12:49 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2020 at 7:36 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) (UPDATE 11/25) — On Wednesday, November 25, The Middle River Regional Jail with the assistance of the National Guard and guidance of the Virginia Department of Health, conducted facility-wide testing after several staff and inmates tested positive for coronavirus.

“These are PCR tests, and we anticipate that we would have the results back by the end of the week. It is usually a three-day average turnaround time,” said Dr. Laura Kornegay, Director of the Virginia Department of Health, Central Shenandoah Health District.

MRRJ officials have told WHSV News that they are working closely with VDH to figure out how best to navigate the outbreak.

“If an inmate does test positive, they will stay isolate or quarantine in their housing area,” explained Middle River Regional Jail’s Major Eric Young. “If they are symptomatic, we will take those inmates and deal with them through the medical department and quarantine them in a separate housing area,” said Major Eric Young.

The testing began around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and ended around 1:30 p.m.

“We want to make sure that the inmates are safe that they don’t have a medical issue and when those issues arise, we are going to take those things very seriously,” said Major Young.

Dr. Kornegay said that like many other correctional facilities space at MRRJ is limited.

“People who are positive can isolate with other positive folks because that obviously doesn’t put them at any higher risk. Then people who are identified as exposed, trying to quarantine them from the larger group,” Dr. Kornegay explained. “A lot of these facilities are pretty tight for space which makes it challenging to implement those recommendations, but we will continue to be in close conversations with them.”

For a list of the restrictions put in place on November 17, click here.

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Middle River Regional Jail issued a press release Tuesday reporting 25 officers and 4 nurses at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. 15 inmates have also tested positive.

According to the press release, the positive officers and nurses are self-isolating at home. A number of additional staff are also self-isolating pending test results.

MRRJ says testing has also occurred in two inmate housing units, as well as testing for individual inmates who have exhibited symptoms. From these tests, 15 inmates out of 76 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Officials say that all inmates and staff will be tested for the virus on Nov. 25 due to the high number of staff testing positive.

The restrictions ordered on Nov. 17 will remain in place, and staff are coordinating with Dr. Kornegay, Health Director of Central Shenandaoh Health District with the Virginia Department of Health.

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