The V.I. Bureau of Corrections has announced 13 COVID-19 positive cases at its facilities territorywide among both inmates and staff. No hospitalizations have been reported at this time.
“The risk of a COVID-19 outbreak or resurgence at a prison or jail increases whenever there is a wide community spread of COVID-19 coupled with the movement of staff and prisoners in and out of a facility,” BOC Director Wynnie Testamark said in a statement Monday. “The Bureau has taken concrete steps to minimize the COVID-19 risk at its facilities in accordance with CDC guidelines.”
As part of BOC’s medical intake and screening process, all new inmates or detainees are observed and questioned about their urgent health needs, while staff works to identify and take care of any immediate or easily identifiable issues that require immediate medical attention. Those who may be contagious are isolated, according to a Monday news release.
As of Monday, four inmates/detainees and four staff members at the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Center have tested positive for COVID-19, along with two inmates/detainees and three staff members at the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix.
Staff members have also been required to show proof of vaccination, and those who are still unvaccinated will be required to show weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test, the release said.
Both the Criminal Justice Center and John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility remains on modified lockdown, with continuous disinfectant and cleaning. Inmate movement has been restricted within the facility. All visits by vendors and all inmate transfers have been suspended until further notice.
Meanwhile, 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 while attorneys may visit prisoners over secure video conference by contacting the facility to schedule a video visit.