West Virginia reports almost 50 virus cases at prison

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Almost 50 people at a West Virginia prison have tested positive for the coronavirus as more than a thousand results are still pending in the state’s first correctional facility outbreak, officials said Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice said at least 39 inmates and eight staffers at the Huttonsville Correctional Center have the virus after the prison reported its first case last week. He said he expects cases to rise as test results are returned.

“We’re on it and we’re trying to take care of these people just as we’ve taken care of ourselves, because they deserve that,” Justice told reporters.

The governor said he ordered testing throughout the Randolph County prison after screenings had been limited to the area where the initial cases were located. A 62-year-old Huttonsville inmate was the first state prisoner to test positive for the virus.

Separately, at least five inmates have tested positive at FCI Gilmer, a federal prison in Glenville, after the federal Bureau of Prisons transferred 124 inmates to the lockup. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has said Attorney General William Barr has assured him that no additional inmates will be relocated to Gilmer.

Statewide, at least 73 people have died from the virus and about 1,800 have tested positive, according to state health data.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptom. But for others, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including life-threatening pneumonia.

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