Local health departments respond to single cases of COVID-19 identified in corrections settings, as resources allow, to recommend implementation of actions to prevent outbreaks. Recommendations include putting infection prevention strategies in place, and monitoring of quarantined contacts or all incarcerated persons and staff if indicated. Additional testing at the facility may be recommended.
Health department staff provide onsite and/or remote consultation with the correctional facility on infection prevention and control practices. Health department staff coordinate and facilitate testing to confirm outbreaks as indicated. Additional testing at the facility may be recommended, especially of close contacts to an identified case.
The key measures to protect incarcerated persons, staff and the community are to take all steps possible to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into facilities, to identify early and isolate COVID-19 cases, and to implement appropriate infection prevention recommendations to prevent further spread in the facility and the community.
The Virginia Department of Corrections and Virginia’s local and regional jails have taken proactive steps to reduce opportunities for introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into facilities, including cancelling in-person visitation, reducing transfers and intakes if at all possible, applying social distancing measures in all possible parts of facilities, providing hand hygiene supplies, and educating and preparing staff and incarcerated persons for COVID-19 response. These facilities are working actively with state and local health department partners.
- VDH COVID-19 Interim Guidance for Correctional Facilities (updated May 3, 2020)
- CDC Interim Guidance on Management of COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities
- CDC Interim Considerations for Testing SARS-CoV-2 Testing in Correctional and Detention Facilities
- FAQs for administrators, staff, people who are incarcerated, families
Page last reviewed: July 12, 2020