COVID-19 tests to be administered to all inmates at Roanoke City Jail


Copyright: Associated Press

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Following recommendations by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Roanoke City Jail’s contracted inmate medical provider (NaphCare) will begin to proactively administer COVID-19 tests to all inmates.

Testing will be conducted on Aug. 14, 2020, with the results of each test returning within 24-18 hours, on average.

During the next week, the VDH will also assist the Roanoke Sheriff’s Office by testing all staff members, contract employees, and vendors who have had physical contact with the Jail or the Sheriff’s administrative areas.

“The health and safety of those in our care and our staff remains a top priority. Due to the rising COVID-19 cases in Virginia, along with positive cases within the jail (to date there have been 4 positive inmates and 14 positive staff members), we want to continue to take proactive measures to ensure we are doing everything possible to mitigate the situation. This preemptive testing approach will help identify asymptomatic individuals, and provide us with better information in order to manage the spread of COVID-19 in our facility.”

Spokesperson from Roanoke Sheriff’s Office

The Jail will also continue with existing protocol involving the safety and screening measures which includes:

  • Screening of any inmate, staff member, contract employee, vendor or visitor before
    they are admitted to the Sheriff’s Office or Roanoke City Jail, with both a temporal
    thermometer screening and questionnaire
  • Stopping all non-essential personnel from coming into the facility (volunteers, in person
    visits, non-contact attorney visits, etc)
  • Temporarily suspending weekender programs, delayed confinement, inmate work
    crews, and court-ordered work force
  • Enhanced arrestee medical screening process, which includes quarantining new inmates
    for 14 days before they are moved to general population
  • Working with the court system, Public Defender’s office, and Commonwealth Attorney
    to lower the jail population by approximately 31%
  • Requiring masks for jail staff
  • Requiring masks for inmates when moving throughout the facility
  • Providing additional PPE to staff and inmates, as needed
  • Establishing isolation and quarantine protocols for new and symptomatic inmates
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the facility
  • Allowing inmates extra hygiene products and education on COVID-19 symptoms
  • Waiving medical co-pays for any inmate experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

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