Dave Mistich Published

Additional Staff Member, Inmate At Huttonsville Correctional Center Test Postive For Coronavirus

Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials give an update to the public regarding West Virginia's continued response to the coronavirus on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Updated Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

The head of West Virginia’s corrections system says more cases of the coronavirus have been found at Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County.

Speaking at a virtual news briefing Wednesday, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation commissioner Betsy Jividen said another staff member and another inmate at the Huttonsville Correctional Center have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

“Both inmates were being isolated — quarantined — on Monday due to low grade fevers, and were caught through our process of medical screening that we’ve been using and continuing now in compliance with the CDC guidelines and in coordination and consultation with the Bureau of Public Health and the local health department,” Jividen said.

On Monday, the Division said they had discovered a part-time staff member at the Huttonsville Correctional Center had tested positive for the coronavirus. Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday that state officials had identified the first case for an inmate at Huttonsville. 

Later Tuesday, Justice’s general counsel, Brian Abraham told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that another guard was suspected to be positive with the virus but had not submitted to a test.

Abraham and a spokesman for the Division of Corrections did not immediately return an email Wednesday seeking clarification as to whether the second guard who tested positive was the same person who was suspected to have the virus.

Jividen said Wednesday that results are pending from additional testing at the facility — including 203 staff and 43 inmates who are housed in two different areas of where those who tested positive had been located. Testing at the facility was conducted with the help of the West Virginia National Guard. 

“We will wait and look at these test results and then get the expert guidance from Dr. Marsh and the Bureau of Public Health and from state and local health authorities — and then proceed as they feel is best with respect to any more targeted or enhanced testing,” Jividen said. 

As of Wednesday morning, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reports 69 deaths as a result of COVID-19. State health officials say they have confirmed 1,545 positive tests in the state.