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4 Piedmont Regional Jail inmates test positive for COVID-19

Piedmont Regional Jail Superintendent Jim Davis said the jail now has multiple inmates who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Jim Davis

Davis provided an update Wednesday, April 22, at noon after being asked the status of four prisoners who were reported to have elevated temperatures earlier in the week.

“I have been informed by the health department that Piedmont Regional has four inmates who tested positive for the COVID virus and are under quarantine at this time,” he said. “The four were tested Monday by the health department, and we were informed this morning.”

Davis noted the local health department has been involved and will be assisting the jail in any form of officer or inmate testing and care. 

“This virus is a medical issue, and they need to be the major players in the treatment of the inmates,” he said of area health department officials. “We are following their directions in this matter, unless it becomes a security issue.”

As far as the scope of testing of staff and inmates, the jail’s medical department is working with the health department to ascertain the need at this time, he stated.  

“At this time I am not aware of their total plan within the jail,” he said. “Medical will keep me updated.”

Davis emphasized he and his staff are exploring totally new territory for jails in terms of how they operate in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it changes daily as they learn how to better handle the situation.

“When an inmate is quarantined, they are secured in a single cell in a designated housing unit just for this purpose,” he said. “The only other inmates in this housing unit are also being quarantined for the same reason. Any officer or medical personnel will be dressed in the complete (personal protective equipment) PPE when dealing directly with the inmate.”

Upon leaving the area, the PPE will be removed and considered a biohazard item, he noted.

“The inmate will be fed on disposable items and allowed the appropriate hygiene items and showers,” he continued. “The inmate will remain in this status for 14 days and then again be tested prior to being released to the general population. Medical will be reviewing the condition on a regular basis as medically required.”

Davis said all staff is required to wear the appropriate protective masks at all times within the secure area of the jail, and they are reminded of the precautions to protect themselves and others. Non-essential personnel are asked not to enter the secure area of the jail. 

“Today we received the appropriate masks, and they will be distributed to the entire jail population,” he said.