|HUTTONSVILLE TESTING RESULTS
Following his latest daily media briefing, Gov. Justice and leaders with the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation learned Wednesday afternoon that a total of 102 inmates at the Huttonsville Correctional Center and Jail in Randolph County have now tested positive for COVID-19. No additional staff members have tested positive. Additional tests from the facility remain pending at several labs across the state.
Click here to view the latest correctional facilities testing data
“We didn’t have a single test in all of our correctional facilities, that tested positive, up until just all of a sudden a few days ago,” Gov. Justice said during the briefing earlier in the day. “When it came to me that we were testing a block of prisoners and testing the staff that worked with the prisoners that were exposed to each other in that block, I said, ‘No, it’s not enough. We’re going to test everybody in the whole facility.’”
Gov. Justice ordered the full testing of all inmates and staff at the Huttonsville correctional facility last Friday and announced yesterday that the mass testing effort of more than 1,000 inmates and staff members had been completed.
“Most all of the other states have had a really bad go of it with their prisons,” Gov. Justice said. “All of these people are in an area that’s confined and, naturally, they interact in a closer area so, therefore, they’re more exposed. I hope and pray that what we’re doing is the right thing and, at the end of the day, it will protect people because they deserve to be protected.”
“All positives have been moved and separated and we continue to move and separate inmates as the additional results come in,” West Virginia DCR Commissioner Betsy Jividen said. “We’re going to continue responding to this, based upon the results of this enhanced testing, and, in coordination with the medical team and the experts, we will continue to look at contact tracing and case investigation and take this process where it needs.
“I do want to point out that we have been on this and we have been proactively responding since the first part of March,” Jividen continued. “We immediately put staff and inmate screening into place in our facilities. Inmates who come into the regional jails are quarantined for 14 days before they are allowed to go into the general population. We’ve been following the CDC guidelines on the testing of inmates and we have had medical providers at all of our facilities.
“The incident at Huttonsville was caught through our procedures that have been in place since early March.”
Also Wednesday, the Governor directed DCR to begin the process of fully testing all correctional facilities across West Virginia.
“We should now go and test all the facilities – facilities that we know that we don’t have a problem yet, but we probably only have a limited amount of knowledge,” Gov. Justice said.
“We want to continue to try to address every potential issue,” Gov. Justice continued. “That’s why, now, we’re going to embark on testing everyone.”