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300 inmates retested after swabs mistakenly sent to another facility

Coronavirus tests from 300 inmates at the Buckingham Correctional Facility in Buckingham County have to be redone after they were accidentally sent to another prison instead of being tested in a laboratory. 

Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) Director of Communications Lisa Kinney said Thursday, May 7, VDOC delivered 300 COVID-19 offender swabs taken by staff at BCC to the commercial lab the department had been using to run the tests. 

Kinney said the lab, Genetworx, then mistakenly shipped the samples to the Bland Correctional Center in Bland County rather than processing the samples. 

By the time the samples had been discovered by Bland staff Monday, May 4, the BCC tests were too old to be used and were disposed of, as required, by medical staff at the Bland facility. 

Kinney added tracking information was provided to Genetworx and the mistake is being investigated further. The inmates whose swabs were taken were retested Wednesday and Thursday. Genetworx will reprocess the tests for free. 

The tests, Kinney said, were point prevalence tests conducted for surveillance purposes, not tests of symptomatic offenders. 

The VDOC website listed 13 total positive inmates from BCC and two positive staff as of Thursday. The Dillwyn Correctional Center in Buckingham has 203 total positive offenders and seven positive staff. 

Buckingham County’s total positive cases as reported by the Virginia Department of Health on Thursday rose to 225 with 10 hospitalizations, although officials have warned not all positive cases reported by the VDH are from the local prisons. 

Nearby, Prince Edward County has risen to 63 total coronavirus cases since the outbreak began. Cumberland County remains at 12 cases. Charlotte County has had 11 cases of the coronavirus, and Lunenburg has had four.