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More Than 50 Adults Test Positive For Coronavirus In W.Va. Prisons

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More than 50 West Virginia prisoners have tested positive for the coronavirus and not yet recovered, as the state moves past a more than 260-person-outbreak that occurred earlier in November.

Those current cases include 23 prisoners with the virus at Denmar Correctional Center in Pocahontas County, 18 cases at the Prunytown Correctional Center in Taylor County and 11 cases at the Northern Correctional Facility in Marshall County.

Additionally, DCR reported on Wednesday that there were 14 people in state custody with the coronavirus at a work-release center in Parkersburg.

Of the 50 DCR employees who had tested positive for the coronavirus and not recovered by Wednesday, 10 work in juvenile correctional facilities and more than 30 work in correctional centers that hold adults.

DCR’s policy requires that staff who have the virus quarantine from home.

Earlier in November, DCR reported more than 260 prisoner cases of the coronavirus at Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County, the state’s only county-run facility holding West Virginia inmates.

According to the division on Wednesday, only seven of those prisoners still have yet to recover. DCR defines recovered cases of COVID-19 using guidance from the CDC, which states that "people with mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after their symptoms began."

The CDC's guidance reflects that this recommendation doesn't apply to people with severe COVID-19.

“For what all they've done, it's unbelievable,” Gov. Jim Justice said of DCR Wednesday, and members of the Department of Health and Human Resources who Justice said have helped. “Unbelievable. It's great. Great, great story.”

West Virginia has had three prisoner deaths, its first at the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston.

Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.


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