South Central Regional Jail now on lockdown after five covid cases among inmates

The South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County has gone on lockdown with five active cases of coronavirus among inmates, making it the second West Virginia jail with an ongoing outbreak.

The other is the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County.

Four of the cases at South Central represent new confirmations, and the jail is on lockdown to eliminate movement and suppress further spread.

The positive inmates are in two housing units, according to a statement issued Sunday afternoon by the state Department of Homeland Security.

Of the other inmates in those units, two were tested after showing symptoms and their results are pending.

The remaining 29 inmates in these units are being tested,. according to the state Homeland Security agency. None of these inmates is complaining of symptoms.

Each inmate in both units is screened for symptoms daily and their temperatures are checked twice a day.

The Southern Regional Jail has one active inmate and nine active employee cases.

The positive inmate remains asymptomatic, and all employees are self-quarantining at home.

Tests are pending at the Southern Regional Jail for 10 inmates and 19 staff as part of the contact tracing process. None report symptoms.

At both the Southern and South Central regional jails, nearly 58 percent of the total population – 305 and 416 inmates, respectively — are pretrial defendants.

To address the risk of COVID-19 within correctional facilities, the W.Va. Supreme Court called on magistrates and circuit judges in late March to consider personal recognizance or reduced bond for “any pre-trial individuals who do not constitute a public safety risk.”

But each jail now has more inmates than when that guidance was issued.

MORE: Coronavirus statistics in West Virginia correctional facilities 

All West Virginia corrections facilities conducted enhanced testing of inmates and staff in June.

Nearly 440 South Central Regional Jail inmates and more than 100 employees were tested at that time. All were negative.

The state Division of Corrections also tests symptomatic individuals and those identified as a close contact through contact tracing, as a prerequisite for some offsite medical appointments, and at the recommendation of the Bureau for Public Health or a facility’s medical provider. Corrections facilities also coordinate with their local health departments.

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