232 inmates at Chesapeake Correctional Center positive for coronavirus; special COVID-19 unit opened

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The official results for mass testing at Chesapeake Correctional Center are in and show 232 inmates and four deputies are positive for the coronavirus.

That number includes those who previously tested positive in the initial wave of the outbreak earlier this month.

In total, 859 inmates and 360 correctional staff members and sworn court personnel were tested on Nov. 21.

With the average daily population hovering around 985 people, the infection rate is at about 23 percent.

Some of the positive inmates have already been moved to a specialized COVID-19 unit, which is at the jail but separated from the main building.

Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan received permission in April from the Department of Corrections to convert an auxiliary building behind the jail into a COVID-19 unit.

“From the beginning, we have been hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” said O’Sullivan. “This is our first outbreak. Our COVID-unit is now open and staffed. With the help of many city and state agencies, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, we are safely providing the best possible medical care.”

The facility has also taken steps to reduce the risk of transmission inside the facility, including:

  • Increasing sanitation around the sheriff’s office buildings.
  • Requiring medical screenings and 14-day quarantine for new inmates
  • Requiring temperature and symptom checks for employees reporting to work
  • Mandating masks for employees during their shifts and inmates when they aren’t in their housing unit
  • Giving inmates education about the coronavirus and CDC recommendations
  • Limiting exposure by closing the facility to the public, canceling the Weekender Program and suspending most workforce programs

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