Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19

Page updated on Jan 13, 2021 at 4:52 PM

Updated as of January 13, 2021, 4:30 p.m.

All inmates who previously tested negative were tested last week and again this week. Two new positive cases were confirmed. All inmates remain asymptomatic.

On January 9, Sheriff’s Office employees began receiving vaccines.

Update as of January 4, 2021, 2 p.m.

Sheriff Lawhorne wants the community to know that 14 states had the courage  to place corrections staff in category 1A. "I commend these states for recognizing the seriousness of this situation and the critical role staff play in maintaining the well being of those incarcerated. Unfortunately, Virginia doesn't feel the same way." Today the Sheriff continued to press those in leadership roles to do something since the Governor's team has gone silent.

Prison Policy Vaccination Phases

Update as of January 4, 2021, 11:45 a.m.

All inmates continue to be asymptomatic.

Update as of January 2, 2021, 1 p.m.

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and his executive team continue to monitor the covid situation at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center. He has conducted daily meetings with his staff, medical team, and the Alexandria Health Department in order to evaluate the health and well-being of the inmates and our staff. These meetings are continuous throughout each day including every holiday. Twice a day, the on-duty medical staff visit each inmate who has tested positive, and they all continue to be asymptomatic. Inmates are quarantined but are still allowed to maintain a break schedule. The break schedule is hindered by staffing levels.

Sheriff Lawhorne wants to express his frustration with Governor Northam’s refusal to intervene and include jail staff in category 1A of the vaccine distribution list. Sheriff Lawhorne had requested that jail staff be included on the highest priority category because they work in a congregate setting and provide care to inmates 24 hours a day. They are the key to the mental and social well-being of our inmates. They are the ones who keep the housing units open so the inmates can have some sense of liberty and self-worth. Sheriff Lawhorne explains, “We need the vaccination now so we can do our jobs to maintain the safety and well-being of inmates entrusted to our care. The Commonwealth of Virginia has distributed over 388,000 doses so far. I only want 130.”

Sheriff Lawhorne wants his community to know that he is also concerned about a vaccination for inmates and has not received any answers on that either. He feels his only immediate chance for any progress is to make the case for his staff who are caring for the inmates.

The Alexandria Health Department will retest each inmate next week.

Sheriff Lawhorne would like to take this opportunity to praise the Alexandria Health Department for the 24/7 assistance they have provided to the Sheriff’s Office since March 2020. According to Sheriff Lawhorne, “Like our own employees, the Health Department team has and continues to always go above and beyond the call of duty!”

As of December 31, 2020, 2 p.m

On December 18, staff at the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office received reports from two inmates in the same housing unit that they had covid-like symptoms. They were immediately seen by medical staff, monitored, and after testing, were found to be positive for COVID-19. They, along with 57 other inmates in the same housing unit, were placed on strict quarantine. The entire detention center was placed on restricted movement and the Sheriff ordered that all inmates be tested.

Per advice from the Alexandria Health Department, the testing was scheduled for December 29. This time frame was based on established CDC guidelines.

On December 29, in cooperation with the Alexandria Health Department, the Sheriff’s Office tested 278 inmates for covid. On December 31, the Sheriff’s Office received the results of those tests, and 78 inmates tested positive with 80% of those positive cases coming from the same housing unit. The other cases are contained in two other units. There has been no additional spread.

Our medical team has been and continues to monitor each infected inmate throughout the day. As of today, all infected inmates are asymptomatic. The medical team has also been monitoring the health of all the inmates throughout the facility.

All ASO staff were also tested and the results are pending. COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on the staffing at the Adult Detention Center and has impeded operations. This limits staff’s ability to give inmates reasonable amounts of time out of their cells.

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and Sheriff Stacey Kincaid of Fairfax County continue to press the Governor to release approximately 400 vaccine doses to their agencies so that jail staff who care for inmates can be protected. On December 29, the Governor refused their request. As of December 31, the Commonwealth of Virginia has distributed more than 388,000 doses, but refused the Sheriffs' request. Both Sheriff Lawhorne and Sheriff Kincaid are now in contact with their members of the General Assembly in an attempt to obtain vaccine for their jail staff.

Family members of inmates who have questions may contact Chief Deputy Candra Callicott at 703.746.5115.