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Report: 213 Middle River Regional Jail inmates test positive for COVID-19

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COVID-19 testing conducted at Middle River Regional Jail over the weekend turned up 213 positives among inmates and 14 additional positives among staff.

The staff positives pushed the total at MRRJ to 47, dating to the start of the outbreak on Nov. 13.

Those who tested positive over the weekend are self-isolating at home, according to a news release from the jail Monday.

Many of the staffers who had tested positive have completed their quarantines and returned to work, according to the release.

The release noted that all staff should be clear to return to work by Dec. 7.

Among the inmate population testing positive, one has required hospitalization.

The news from MRRJ would seem to answer a question that those who follow the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard regularly would have had this morning.

The dashboard reported 206 positive COVID-19 tests specific to the City of Staunton for the Nov. 30 date.

We reached out to VDH this morning to learn more about the abnormally high number of cases, which would account for 10.9 percent of all of the COVID-19 positive tests reported in the state today – from a city with a population of 24,922, roughly .29 percent of the state’s population.

The response that we got from the VDH came from public information officer Erin Beard:

“The 206 cases of COVID-19 reported today (November 30, 2020) for Staunton on the dashboard are due to both a general increase in cases in that area of the state, as well as testing events held over the weekend to test residents and staff in congregate settings impacted by outbreaks of COVID-19.”

Before receiving the news release from the jail, we followed up with Beard to ask for a breakdown of how many of the positives reported in Staunton today were from the general population and how many were from the congregate settings subset.

We were told that we couldn’t get more specifics at this time.

It doesn’t take much to deduce that the news later in the day from the jail is our answer.

Story by Chris Graham

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augusta free press