Emily Allen Published

Coronavirus Count At Huttonsville Passes 70, With Hundreds Of Results Still Pending

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated on May 26, 2020, at 10 p.m. with more recent data from the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Eighty-four people have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Huttonsville Correctional Center, as the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation awaits hundreds more results from tests conducted Monday.

On Friday, the DCR reported 35 people at the state-run, Randolph County facility had tested positive for the virus, after all staff and about 40 prisoners were tested. 

At that point, eight employees had tested positive and nearly half of the prisoners occupying a 43-bed dorm, housing the facility’s first known resident to contract the virus.

On Monday, DCR Commissioner Betsy Jividen said the West Virginia National Guard helped test 1,029 more prisoners from the correctional center and the nearby work camp.

After getting 40 results back from the labs Tuesday morning, Jividen said 12 had come back positive. By Tuesday evening, updated data from the DCR showed 76 prisoners had tested positive.

“We’re hoping that we will have the remaining tests back within the next several days,” Jividen said during a press briefing, of the hundreds of results that are still pending. “And we will plan our policy and our response accordingly.”

The Division of Corrections reported Tuesday evening that 990 prisoners from the Huttonsville Correctional Center and the work camp are in quarantine, while 656 test results were still pending. Spokesman Lawrence Messina from the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, which oversees the DCR, said Tuesday afternoon each facility identifies space in its building for quarantine and medical isolation.  

“In the case of Huttonsville, the restricted movement between facilities and other proactive measures by DCR has reduced its population to below 90 percent of capacity,” Messina stated. “That has provided additional flexibility and options regarding quarantine and medical isolation housing.”

Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.