COVID cases at Farmville ICE center nearly double

Published 9:56 am Thursday, July 9, 2020

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Reported coronavirus cases jumped significantly in Prince Edward County this week after Virginia entered Phase 3 of its reopening process, with Farmville’s Immigration Centers of America ICE (U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) Detention Center nearly doubling its numbers of active COVID-19 cases.

Prince Edward County’s Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported case count increased by 32 this week, rising from 187 Wednesday, July 1, to 219 Wednesday, July 8.

Farmville’s ICE Detention Center COVID-19 cases saw a major spike this week, jumping all the way to 102 active cases and 106 total confirmed cases as of Wednesday after an initial outbreak saw numbers reach the low 50s.

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When asked what caused the increase in positive cases Wednesday, ICE Public Affairs Specialist Kate Pote said the Farmville facility began expanding its testing the week of June 29. She added the majority of detainees who tested positive are asymptomatic but are being closely monitored and receiving appropriate medical care.

According to Pote, detainees who tested negative will be retested and are being held separately from positive detainees. They have also received further education on the importance of masks and other personal protective equipment.

Positive detainees will be retested 14 days after the initial positive test, and any symptomatic detainees will be housed in the center’s medical unit. An additional dorm is being utilized as a sick call room to avoid moving detainees who test positive through the facility. All detainees have been issued three N95 masks and two cloth masks that can be laundered every 72 hours.

The ICE facility isn’t the only detention center in Farmville with an outbreak. Piedmont Regional Jail (PRJ) Superintendent Jim Davis said Monday, July 6 PRJ had 12 new positive cases among its inmates, with two inconclusive and two positive cases among staff after the Virginia National Guard tested all inmates the last week of June.

Davis added that no inmates or staff who tested positive had any signs or symptoms of the virus, and all positive individuals are being quarantined for 14 days. PRJ had previously been free of coronavirus cases since June 1.

Next to Prince Edward, Buckingham County saw the second largest jump in coronavirus cases in the past week, going from 556 cases Wednesday, July 1, to 571 as of Wednesday, July 8. These new cases do not appear to be related to a correctional facility, as Buckingham’s two prisons, Buckingham Correctional Center and Dillwyn Correctional Center, have not seen new cases of the virus for weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections website.

Cumberland County rose by eight cases this week, from 51 to 59. Lunenburg County saw its own large jump from 31 to 39.

Charlotte County rose two from 31 to 33. Nottoway increased by four from 111 to 115. Amelia also increased by four, going from 44 to 48.