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

In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 9 tested 1,584 inmates, deputies, civilians and contractors for COVID-19. All of the tests have been processed and five staff members and 104 inmates have tested positive. At the recommendation of the VDH, everyone will be tested again in the near future. The retesting date is to-be-determined.

Of the inmates who tested positive, 74 are new positives (30 had previously tested positive). Those inmates 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.

The staff members who tested positive – four deputies and one civilian who work in the jail – were directed to quarantine at home and seek medical attention, if needed, until cleared by a physician to return to work.

This is the VBSO’s third mass testing (point prevalence study), with the first two taking place in June and October. The results of those tests are posted at vbso.net/coronavirus.

The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the VDH to contain the spread and protect the health and safety of those living and working inside the Correctional Center.

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, as usual, to ensure the safety and security of the facility and provide for the feeding and medical care of the inmate population.

• 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 serving of all non-consecutive sentences until at least Nov. 30.

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, issuing masks to the inmates, and requiring daily health screenings and mask-wearing 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 preparing for this and will do everything we can to contain the spread and protect the health and safety of our staff, the inmates and the public. I am in constant communication with the Virginia Department of Health as we work hand-in-hand to combat COVID-19 in the Correctional Center,” 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 may be directed to: Kathy Hieatt, Public Information Officer: khieatt@vbso.net or 757.570.9123.