All Roanoke City Jail inmates, staff members to be tested for coronavirus

To date, four inmates and 14 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19

ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that all inmates at the city jail will be tested for COVID-19 starting on Friday.

Inmates, as well as staff members who have contact with the jail or sheriff’s administrative areas, will be tested, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

To date, the Sheriff’s Office said there have been four positive cases among inmates in the Roanoke City Jail, and 14 positive cases among staff members.

The jail’s contracted inmate medical provider, NaphCare, will administer the tests. The Sheriff’s Office said it will take about 24-48 hours on average to get results back.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will assist with the Sheriff’s Office in testing staff members, including contract employees and vendors.

The Sheriff’s Office said it is following recommendations from the VDH and shared this list of existing safety measures already in place:

  • 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

Anyone with questions for the Roanoke City Jail about COVID-19 response is asked to call 540-853-1761.

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