West Virginia reports more than 80 virus cases at prison

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — More than 80 people at a West Virginia prison have tested positive for the coronavirus as hundreds of results are still pending in the state’s first correctional facility outbreak, officials said Tuesday.

The state corrections department said at least 76 inmates and eight staffers at the Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County have the virus. The prison reported its first case last week.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice said he ordered testing throughout the facility after screenings had been limited to the area where the initial cases were located. More than 650 tests are still pending and the governor said he said he expects cases to rise as the 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.

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 74 people have died from the virus and about 1,850 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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