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Amid jail outbreaks, Governor calls for more tests

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An outbreak of cases within several of the state’s correctional facilities is prompting Governor Justice to call for more testing.

Justice, during his Covid 19 briefing from the State Capitol on Monday, reported eight active cases among inmates at the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston and one staff member who has tested positive. Officials are also watching another outbreak closely at the Southern Regional Jail in Raleigh County. According to Justice one inmate there tested positive, but has since recovered and ten staff members at the jail in Beaver contracted the virus and are in quarantine.

“We’re going to retest all of the inmates and the staff at the South Central Regional Jail,” Justice said. “We’re also really closely monitoring the Southern Regional jail.”

The South Central Regional Jail was placed into lockdown over the weekend when the first positives were noticed.

As of Monday there were also tests pending on inmates at the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville and the Mount Olive Correctional Center.

In the early days of the pandemic, every incarcerated individual and worker in every facility was tested for Covid 19. Justice said despite the challenge it needs to be repeated.

“Things are changing and changing rapidly, but we’ve got to figure a way to get to these nursing homes and correctional facilities as quickly as can be, considering all oft he other constraints, and test everyone at those facilities,” he said.

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