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Of the 22 positive cases of COVID-19 in Halifax County,five are inmates at Caledonia Correctional Institution, according to a new chart on the state Department of Public Safety website.

There have been a total of six tests performed at the prison located in Tillery with one negative result.

Thus far, a total of 166 inmates across the state have been tested with 129 turning up negative and 37 positive. This update was made shortly before 2 this morning.

John Bull, a communications officer for adult corrections within the department said this morning offenders who test positive for COVID-19 are placed in isolation and treated. “This is standard operating procedure during this pandemic, as is the housing area where they had been before they tested positive to help prevent it spreading within a prison and COVID-19 tests are taken as necessary.”

Bull said these steps are in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Asked if the first inmate to test positive at the prison was transferred from another facility to Caledonia, Bull said, “Due to community spread, contact tracing is seldom conclusive to the source of the viral infection. This is the case pretty much nationwide.”

The department has taken several actions related to the pandemic, the website says, most recently on April 6 it instituted the following policies:

A two-week moratorium on accepting offenders from county jails

Reducing offender transfers between prisons beginning April 7 to contain additional spread

Providing additional personal protective equipment:

Distributing washable face masks to all staff and offenders at three prisons where offenders have tested positive for COVID-19 – Caledonia Correctional Institution, Johnston CI and Neuse CI. 

The goal is to issue these face masks to all staff and all offenders in every prison.

Increasing Correction Enterprises’ production of PPE for prisons. Correction Enterprises is now producing each week more than 3,600 clear face shields; 6,000 washable face masks; 500 hospital-style gowns; and more than 6,000 four-gallon cases of disinfectant spray, in addition to large quantities of hand lotion.