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27 inmates, 8 employees positive at HCC

HUTTONSVILLE — The number of positive COVID-19 cases has jumped at Huttonsville Correctional Center among prisoners and staff, officials said Friday afternoon.

Gov. Jim Justice ordered testing at the facility this week, which has confirmed 25 additional inmate cases, and that four additional staff members have coronavirus. This brings the total to 35 positive cases, including 27 inmates and eight employees

“Four additional staff there are also positive following two rounds of testing for employees,” a 6 p.m. Friday press release from the W.Va. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety states. “The enhanced testing and ongoing contact tracing have established connections among several of the positive employees, and between that group and the initial inmate to test positive.”

The release states all the positive employees are in good condition and are recovering at home, and all the positive inmates are in good or fair condition in medical isolation at the facility.

On Friday, Justice directed the West Virginia National Guard, which completed testing of Huttonsville staff on Thursday, to sanitize the affected housing areas, the dining hall and the positive employees’ offices.

Justice also ordered testing of all inmates at the facility.

“The 25 inmates are all among the 40 in the same housing unity as the initial inmate confirmed with COVID-19 on Monday,” the release states. “A second inmate in that unit tested positive on Wednesday.”

The testing results on Friday bring the total number of W.Va. inmates confirmed with COVID-19 to 27, all at Huttonsville Correctional Center.

“All positive cases have been from that quarantined housing unit to medical isolation,” the release states.

The four additional staff members bring the total number of active cases among West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees statewide to eight, again all at Huttonsville.

“Those new cases resulted from the National Guard-assisted testing of the overnight and morning shifts on Wednesday,” the release states.

“The other positive test had been conducted amid the ongoing contact tracing by local health officials.”

According to the release, the latest results from the tracing process show connections between three of the positive employees.

“One of those employees shares an office with a fourth positive employee — and that employee was in close proximity to the first inmate confirmed positive,” the release states.

All other inmates at the facility are being screened medically daily, including temperature checks, the release states. No other inmates are exhibiting fevers or other symptoms. Around 1,030 inmates are housed in Huttonsville Correctional Center.

“The National Guard tested 203 employees on Wednesday and an additional 39 on Thursday,” the release states.

“The sanitizing effort will begin once all positive cases are identified and moved to medical isolation.”

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