Calls for government officials to step in as death toll rises at Deerfield Correctional Center

Virginia

SOUTHAMPTON, Va. (WRIC) — Two more people have died from the coronavirus at Deerfield Correctional Center in Southampton and now there are calls for the Governor’s Office and Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety to step in. The death toll at Deerfield now stands at 8, the most at any of Virginia’s state prisons since the pandemic began.

Nearly 300 inmates and 19 prison employees are currently fighting the virus.

8News has learned the Virginia Chapter of the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers, an association that represents corrections officers in the state has reached out to the Governor’s office as well as Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran. NCPSO is calling on them to do more. The Coalition says conditions inside the prison are bad and employees haven’t been given proper PPE.

Earlier this week, inmates and their families told 8News there is no social distancing and those who are sick are not being checked on and waiting days for medication to relieve symptoms. Kelly Hodge’s husband is in Deerfield she says her husband is scared. Hodge says, “He is in a dorm with about 100 men, they sleep head to foot.”

Hodge’s husband qualifies for the early release program that was set up to reduce capacity in the prisons during pandemic but she says the state is dragging its feet.
And now, he has tested positive for the virus. “I am part broken, I am scared to death. I don’t want my husband to die. Is he going to be coming home in a body bag? I hate to be graphic but I am scared to death for him.”

Late Monday, the Virginia Department of Corrections told us they were offering incentives for DOC medical staff to help come to Deerfield to help with the outbreak and that temporary nurses were being recruited. “They are down to a skeleton crew there,” says Hodge.

8News asked for an update on staffing and the latest deaths but DOC has not responded.

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