Fourteen detainees at the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, the V.I. Bureau of Corrections has announced.
The Bureau of Corrections reportedly began testing detainees after one complained of mild flu-like symptoms, according to a release from the bureau. Once the first detainee tested positive for COVID-19, the jail nursing staff reportedly tested the other detainees in the same housing unit and found another 13 COVID-19 positive cases.
According to the Bureau of Corrections, the positive COVID-19 test results have so far all come from the same housing unit. The bureau plans for all detainees from that housing unit to remain isolated from the general population, the release stated. There are 157 inmates and detainees at John Bell as of Wednesday, it said.
The bureau reports that none of the 14 detainees who tested positive for COVID-19 has required hospitalization. Bureau of Corrections staff who may have been exposed to the infected detainees are being tested and so far, no staff have tested positive, the news release stated. All staff and inmates are being monitored closely by the nursing staff, under the supervision of Dr. Linda Callwood, Bureau of Corrections’s medical director, it said.
The Bureau of Corrections said it will re-test all detainees in the infected housing unit in one week. Officials say there is an ample supply of protective equipment on hand and that they will work with the Department of Health to ensure an adequate number of test kits, as needed.
The facility has been placed on a modified lockdown, with continuous disinfection and cleaning, the release stated. Inmate movement has been restricted and in-person visits, work details, and prisoner furloughs remain suspended, as they have been since the start of the pandemic.
Court hearings held virtually remain unaffected, according to the release. Attorneys may visit with prisoners via secure video conference by contacting the facility to schedule a video visit, it said.