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Only 4 inmates at DCC still infected with coronavirus

After over a month of significant coronavirus outbreaks, the Dillwyn Correctional Facility (DCC) has nearly recovered.

The prison in Buckingham County saw a total of 348 offenders during its outbreaks who tested positive for the virus, a number larger than that of any other correctional facility in the state. Numerous staff members at DCC also contracted COVID-19, and two inmates at the facility died from the illness.

However, numbers reported by the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) as of Monday, June 15, showed the prison had only four inmates with active cases of the coronavirus, and only one staff member with an active case remaining. On top of this, DCC had zero offenders in hospitals Monday fighting COVID-19.

The news is a welcome sight to VADOC officials, who cite the facility’s point prevalence testing as being paramount in the prison’s handling of the outbreaks.

“The number of offenders who have recovered from COVID-19 at DCC speaks to the effectiveness of point prevalence testing,” VADOC Deputy Director of Communications Gregory Carter said Monday. “Point prevalence testing provides facility leadership and health care staff with valuable information about the magnitude and distribution of COVID-19 infection at a point in time.

“Testing conducted at our facilities and research to date have shown us that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases make up a significant portion of the positive cases among staff and offenders. These cases contribute to “silent transmission” of the virus to others. Therefore, by identifying positive cases sooner through point prevalence testing, we are able to take more proactive measures to quarantine positive offenders and staff.”

Carter added VADOC will continue to conduct point prevalence testing in the future based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Health. (VDH)

The Buckingham Correctional Center (BKCC), also located in Buckingham County, has experienced 164 total coronavirus cases during its outbreak, with three inmate deaths as a result of COVID-19. The prison as of Monday had 56 offenders and seven prison staff with active cases of the virus.

BKCC experienced its initial large outbreaks of the coronavirus later than DCC, and the prison’s total coronavirus case counts have slowly increased in the last few weeks. Point prevalence testing was also conducted at BKCC.

Superintendent of Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville Jim Davis said Monday the jail, which had experienced a total of eight positive offenders and nine positive staff during the pandemic, had not seen any new cases among its staff or inmate population in weeks.

“At this point, we have no active cases with COVID-19 and have been virus free since June 1, 2020,” Davis said. “All inmates infected have returned to the general inmate housing and all staff have returned to work.”

Farmville’s ICE detainment facility was still listed Monday as having experienced three total inmates who tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the third case was announced only last week.

Although the numbers reported by area facilities are encouraging, local counties are still seeing an increase in their coronavirus case numbers, with the largest jump in cases over the weekend stemming from Prince Edward County.

Monday, Prince Edward was listed by VDH as having seen a total of 170 cases of the virus, up from 161 cases Friday morning, June 12.

Cumberland County’s cases increased from 46 Friday to 49 on Monday.

Buckingham County increased slightly from 518 cases Friday to 521 Monday. The county has experienced five COVID-19-related deaths during the pandemic, all of which were victims from the county’s prisons. Despite the two most recent deaths happening weeks ago, VDH’s coronavirus death toll for Buckingham was still listed as three on Monday.

Lunenburg County had risen over the weekend from 19 cases to 21 cases. Charlotte County remained at 30 cases Monday morning.