Coffeewood Correctional Center in Culpeper County, Va

Only 4 inmates at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail are currently positive for COVID-19 this week, a marked recovery after 29 were infected last week. 

The second outbreak at RSW since the beginning of the pandemic seems to have been contained.

Not the case at the Coffeewood Correctional Center in Culpeper County, where 214 inmates are currently infected with COVID-19, four of them hospitalized. Sixteen prison staff also have active cases. To date, 282 inmates at Coffeewood have tested positive for the virus.

“Most of the positives we have are asymptomatic,” RSW Superintendent Russell W. Gilkison told the Rappahannock News of his Front Royal jail. “Even though they’re testing positive, they don’t show symptoms or if they do have symptoms they are very mild.”

Gilkison added that the jail followed guidance from the Virginia Department of Health to implement quarantine practices, social distancing and appropriate staffing.

On Friday, former Rappahannock County Supervisor Bryant Lee told this newspaper that his daughter Brittney, who is currently incarcerated at the jail, was confined to her 15-person quad to limit the spread of the virus.

Gilkison said the first case in this outbreak was identified on Oct. 20., but this is not the superintendent’s first rodeo. RSW first encountered COVID-19 in mid-May when a newly committed inmate told staff he may have been in close contact with an infected person the week before. All told, the May outbreak resulted in 76 cases (71 inmates and 5 staff), none of which were fatal. 

As of Nov. 12, 10 staff members have also recovered from COVID-19. Gilkison expects all currently infected inmates to make a full recovery by Nov. 15. 

— Rachel Needham


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