RICHMOND — Deerfield Correctional Center in Capron, Virginia has 407 offenders with COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Two COVID-positive Deerfield offenders died today, making a total of six offenders who have died from that facility, the most at any DOC facility.
COVID-19 testing is ongoing throughout DOC facilities. Deerfield Correctional Center houses a population of older, sicker inmates, and has an infirmary and an assisted living unit. Deerfield tested the entire offender population recently, and many offenders have been re-tested. Both offenders who died today were in the hospital at the time of their deaths. Deerfield’s average daily population is about 925 offenders.
The Virginia DOC has been able to test on a scale that most congregate settings, from prisons to nursing homes, have been unable to do. While the nationwide struggle to adequately test for the coronavirus continues, the Virginia DOC has performed more than 36,600 COVID-19 tests on offenders. Most offenders being tested have no symptoms; the DOC is conducting point prevalence testing to catch cases before there are any symptoms. That early testing of asymptomatic offenders is helping to keep the virus from spreading throughout the prison system.
The doctors, nurses, and medical staff at the DOC are working around the clock to test and provide care to offenders during this pandemic. As we work to test and care for offenders, Virginia DOC has partnered with the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia National Guard, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Virginia, Armor Correctional Health Services, and the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.
The point prevalence surveillance testing being done by the Virginia DOC enables the Department to monitor and treat positive cases sooner, rather than after symptoms develop, and to keep asymptomatic staff and offenders from spreading the virus.
All Virginia DOC facilities are following the DOC’s pandemic sanitation plan, and offenders and staff are required to wear appropriate PPE at all times, including medical-grade PPE, such as N-95 masks, when appropriate. The Department continues to plan for every possible contingency, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for corrections.
Virginia Correctional Enterprises manufactures both utility face masks and cleaning supplies approved by the EPA for use in combating the coronavirus, so there is no shortage of either in the facilities.