Governor asks federal government to test for virus at Farmville Detention Center

Published 3:51 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is asking the federal government to implement additional screening and testing for the coronavirus at the federally-operated detention center in Farmville.

There are currently two detainees at the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Farmville Detention Center who have been positively confirmed for COVID-19, according to the center’s website updates. ICE Public Affairs Specialist Kate Pote said Wednesday, May 14, the two inmates who tested positive never entered the general population of the detention center.

In a letter to Virginia’s congressional delegation, Northam wrote that testing everyone in the facilities, including detainees, staff and contractors would help protect the health of those living in the facilities as well as the surrounding communities, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

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The governor’s letter said state officials have limited authority to enter the detention centers or require the center to conduct widespread testing. The letter says the Virginia Department of Health would be happy to support the facilities with point prevalence testing.

In addition to the Farmville Detention Center, the letter also requests widespread point prevalence testing be conducted at the federally-operated Caroline County Detention Center.