Fourth W.Va. Corrections Officer Dies Of COVID-19

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

An officer at a West Virginia jail has became the fourth corrections employee to die from the coronavirus, including the second this year, authorities said Monday.

Western Regional Jail Cpl. Christopher Scarberry had been hospitalized with the virus since December and died Sunday, the state Department of Homeland Security said in a news release.

Scarberry had served at the jail in Cabell County since 2018.

“Christopher, I promise you, we won’t forget you,” Gov. Jim Justice said at his regular COVID-19 briefing Monday.

Lakin Correctional Center officer Paula Jo Tomlin died of COVID-19 on Jan. 22. The two other officers who died last year were from the Saint Marys Correctional Center in Pleasants County and the Northern Regional Jail in Marshall County.

There were 915 active cases of the virus among inmates and residents of correctional facilities as of Monday along with 234 cases involving corrections officers, according to state health figures.

The number of people hospitalized for the virus dipped to 994 Monday after peaking at a record 1,097 last Wednesday.

Twenty-eight of the 31 other virus deaths reported since Friday and read by Justice were ages 65 or older. Nine were in their 80s and 90s.

“This thing is preying on our older people,” Justice said, repeating his plea for residents to get vaccinated for the virus. “If we don’t get our booster shots, those people are in real jeopardy.”