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Gov. Northam calls for more coronavirus testing in two federally-run Virginia detention facilities

The Governor says testing will help protect the health of those living in the facilities, as well as the surrounding communities.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday April 8, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Northam gave an update on his COVID-19 plans. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures during a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday April 8, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Northam gave an update on his COVID-19 plans. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. – In a letter to Virginia’s congressional delegation, Gov. Ralph Northam urged the federal government to do a better job protecting some inmates in Virginia.

He asked for additional screening and testing for COVID-19 at the Farmville Detention Center and the Caroline County Detention Center, two federally-run detention centers in Virginia.

Northam even offered state support to accomplish this.

The governor wrote that testing everyone in the facilities, including detainees, staff and contractors, will help protect the health everyone involved.

Because both centers are operated by the federal government, the commonwealth has limited authority to enter them.

However, Northam argued that these facilities are congregate settings, meaning people live and gather in group settings, where the virus spreads more easily.

Increased testing in those settings can help limit the spread of COVID-19, both within the facility and in the communities in which the facilities are located, according to Northam.

You can read the Governor’s full letter here.


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