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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Media Contact: Deanna LeBlanc
 April 24, 2020
(757) 589-5692
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NORFOLK, Va. - In an unprecedented effort to slow the spread of Coronavirus, Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron is now requiring COVID-19 testing of all Norfolk Sheriff’s Office employees and all inmates residing in the Norfolk City Jail.

This decision comes one day after Sentara Healthcare administered approximately 72 tests to inmates living on and staff working on the same floor as the first COVID-positive NCJ inmate. As of this release, 26 tests have come back positive, 3 have come back negative and 43 results are still pending. Of the 26 COVID-positives, nearly all were asymptomatic at the time of testing.

“This aggressive and proactive testing is the only way to identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus,” Sheriff Joe Baron said. “Global pandemics pose a high risk to congregant-style facilities such as jails, and we cannot fight against an invisible enemy. Now that we have confirmed COVID-19 is in the Norfolk City Jail, it is imperative that we understand how far reaching it is. This will help us to develop a comprehensive plan to protect our inmates and staff. We will continue to work closely with the Norfolk Health Department and the Virginia Department of Health and follow their guidance.”

If you have questions about COVID-19 related impacts to the Norfolk City Jail, and for information on ongoing efforts to mitigate COVID-19, please visit our dedicated website: https://norfolk-sheriff.com/coronavirus.

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The Norfolk Sheriff's Office is a values driven organization
committed to 
public safety, public service, and public trust.

 

 

 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Media Contact: Deanna LeBlanc
 April 23, 2020
(757) 589-5692
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(NORFOLK, Va.) APRIL 23rd 2020: A Norfolk City Jail inmate is in medical isolation in good condition after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with our medical provider and the Virginia Department of Health are closely monitoring the inmate. The inmate has been given the opportunity to place a free call to notify loved ones.

The individual’s floor was placed on a 14-day quarantine at the onset of the inmate’s symptoms per recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health’s Epidemic Team and the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Sentara Healthcare to expedite testing of all inmates on that floor, to aggressively stem any spread of the virus by asymptomatic persons. All staff who work in that area of the jail will also be tested. Results are expected within 24 to 48 hours.

“The health and safety of those in our care and our staff is our top priority. As the Coronavirus began spreading into the Commonwealth, it became clear that it would not be a matter of ‘if’ COVID-19 would come into the Norfolk City Jail, but rather a matter of ‘when,’” Sheriff Joe Baron said. “While this news is disheartening, it is not surprising. Our fight against COVID-19 is an aggressive one. We have decreased the jail population to record lows, have enacted numerous proactive safety measures, and today we will test more than 60 people to identify anyone who may be an asymptomatic spreader of COVID-19. We must all do our part to slow the spread of this virus.”

The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office proactive measures include:

  • Screening any admits before being booked into the jail
  • Stopping any non-essential personnel from entering the jail (such as volunteers and contractors)
  • Placing all new admits in a 14-day medical observation before entering general population
  • Working with courts, public defender, and Commonwealth’s Attorney to lower jail population by nearly 30% (a 40-year low)
  • Providing PPE to staff and inmates as needed
  • Requiring masks for jail staff
  • Establishing isolation and quarantine protocols
  • Establishing environmental team to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas multiple times per day
  • Educating inmates on good hygiene and COVID-19 symptoms
  • Waiving medical co-pays for any inmate experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms

The NSO has established a new webpage www.norfolk-sheriff.com/coronavirus. There, you can find out more about COVID-19 related impacts to jail and court operations, and FAQs. Weekly updates on Fridays by 3 p.m. on the number of deputies or inmates COVID-19 positive will also be posted. Please visit that page for further information.

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The Norfolk Sheriff's Office is a values driven organization
committed to 
public safety, public service, and public trust.

 

 

 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Media Contact: Deanna LeBlanc
 April 20, 2020
(757) 589-5692
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


NORFOLK, Va. (April 20, 2020): Three Norfolk Sheriff’s Office deputies are self-isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19. A fourth deputy, who has not reported to work for a number of weeks due to an unrelated health matter, has also tested positive.

Two of the three deputies isolating at home have been doing so since the onset of symptoms ten days ago. Mandatory temperature screenings before the start of the third deputy’s shift revealed a low-grade fever last week. That deputy was subsequently sent home and has remained out-of-work since then.

The deputies are in contact with the Virginia Department of Health and will remain at home until cleared to return to work.

The NSO’s Office of Professional Standards, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health, is actively conducting a contact tracing investigation.

At this time, no inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

Since early March, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office has continually ramped up cleaning and sanitation efforts in the jail in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health.

These measures include:

  • Constant cleaning and sanitation of high-contact areas of the Norfolk City Jail
  • Temperature screening of employees before starting their shifts
  • Screening of new arrestees before being booked into the jail
  • Placing all new admits in a 14-day observation area
  • Requiring all jail staff wear masks
  • Requiring all jail staff to wear PPE when necessary
  • Established a reserve force of deputies
  • Limit public access to the jail – such as cancelling visitation and volunteer programs
  • Worked with consolidated courts, Norfolk Public Defender’s Office, and the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to reduce jail population

The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office reminds members of the public to adhere to Governor Northam’s stay-at-home order and do their part to help slow the spread.

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The Norfolk Sheriff's Office is a values driven organization
committed to 
public safety, public service, and public trust.

 

 

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