Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office announces COVID-19 test results

*Correction: The VBSO previously reported that 10 deputies tested positive as a result of the Oct. 28-30 mass testing (point prevalence survey) with the Virginia Department of Health. However, that number was inaccurate. Four deputies tested positive as a result of that PPS (six of the positive tests were invalid because they were retests of previously positive individuals who should not have been retested, per the VDH).

In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 28-30 tested 1,521 inmates, deputies, civilians and contractors for COVID-19. All of the tests have been processed and four deputies and 70 inmates have tested positive. That is approximately 1% of the VBSO’s 500 staff members and approximately 6% of the jail’s 1,110 inmates. At the recommendation of the VDH, everyone will be retested next week.

The inmates who tested positive have been notified by medical staff and placed in quarantine, where they are being closely monitored and provided any needed medical care. They have also been given an opportunity to notify their friends and family. No inmates have required hospitalization due to COVID-19.

The staff members who tested positive are quarantining at home and have been directed to seek medical attention, if needed, until cleared by a physician to return to work.

The Sheriff’s Office implemented COVID-19 protocols in March and, in light of the recent positive cases, has been taking additional steps to contain the coronavirus and protect the health and safety of the inmates, deputies, civilian staff and public. Those steps include:

  • Issuing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff members working the COVID-19 quarantine blocks.
  • Closing the Correctional Center to all non-employees, including volunteers. Sworn and civilian staff and contractors are still working to ensure the safety and security of the facility and provide for the feeding and medical care of the inmate population. They are required to wear masks and complete a wellness screening before each shift.
  • Ceasing transfers of inmates to and from the Virginia Beach Courthouse and other jurisdictions. Staff will facilitate inmate court appearances by video whenever possible.
  • Canceling the Weekender Program and postponing delayed confinement reporting until at least Nov. 30. Anyone scheduled to report before that date will be issued a new reporting date and will not be booked into the Correctional Center until after Nov. 30.
  • Conducting additional cleaning and sanitation throughout the jail.

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office began its COVID-19 response on March 6. That response has included reducing the inmate population by 240 inmates (18% of the inmate population), implementing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all new admissions to the jail, restricting inmate movement between housing units within the Correctional Center, and requiring daily health screenings and masks for all staff. The VBSO is following its Infectious Disease Operations Plan and the recommendations of its Medical staff, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the VDH.

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office’s full COVID-19 testing data is available on its website at vbso.net/coronavirus. That data has been posted publicly and updated at least weekly since mid-April.

“We have been successful in combatting COVID-19 these past eight months and have had very few cases before now. However, as the pandemic continued and cases increased nationwide, we knew the likelihood of an outbreak in the jail grew by the day. We have been preparing for this and will do everything we can to contain the spread and protect the health and safety of the our staff, the inmates and the public,” said Sheriff Ken Stolle. “I am praying for a full and speedy recovery for everyone who has tested positive here and will ensure they receive the medical care and support they need.”

Any questions or requests for additional information from the news media should be directed to: Kathy Hieatt, Public Information Officer: khieatt@vbso.net or 757.570.9123.