At about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, the Bureau of Corrections learned that a detainee at the St. Thomas jail had tested positive. According to Corrections, this was the first confirmed case of COVID- 19 at any of its facilities. The bureau asked the Health Department to immediately test all staff and inmates. In a release, officials said they learned on Tuesday that in addition to the detainee who tested positive on Sunday, a total of 19 other people at the St. Thomas jail have tested positive for the coronavirus, including three staff members. Corrections has notified the COVID-19 positive inmates and staff of their status.
To protect staff, their families and inmates, Corrections has mandated all staff at the St. Thomas jail who have not been tested to get tested within the next 48 hours. The Health Department will reportedly perform the testing.
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection at the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix, so the Centers for Disease Control and Health Department guidelines do not require mandatory testing of St. Croix staff and inmates. But according to the bureau, they are closely monitoring St. Croix inmates and staff for symptoms. Corrections has placed the St. Thomas jail on lockdown, and the Health Department has imposed a public health quarantine at the facility. According to the bureau, no new inmates or detainees will be accepted at the facility, and none will be released until all COVID-19 cases at the facility have been cleared.