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As they await vaccinations, Prince William-Manassas jail reports a new COVID-19 outbreak

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Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center

Another COVID-19 outbreak is being reported at the Prince William-Manassas jail with five staff members and two inmates infected, according to jail officials. None have been hospitalized. 

There are currently 620 people being held at the facility, according to the jail’s Director of Support Services Maj. Amanda Lambert.

Staff at the jail are now eligible to be vaccinated under Virginia’s “phase 1b” vaccination group. Lambert said Monday morning that the jail has had a preliminary conversation with the Prince William Health District regarding vaccinations but has not yet established a date or time. 

“We do not currently have a date or who will be administering the vaccination to staff,” Lambert said. 

Prince William Health District, which includes the county and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, is one of 11 Virginia health districts moving into the next phase of vaccinations. Under “1b,” frontline essential workers, like police, fire and correctional facility personnel are eligible to receive the vaccine.

The current outbreak at the jail is the second to occur there since the pandemic began. The first happened last spring and infected a total of 89 inmates and staff. The National Guard was deployed to assist the local health department in testing everyone held at the jail at that time.

The jail has since made efforts to prevent future outbreaks, including limiting visitation and creating quarantine areas within the jail. Steps have been taken by the county Commonwealth’s Attorney office and local judges to reduce the population of the jail as a precaution against the spread of the disease. 

In Virginia, correctional facilities are second only to long-term care centers when it comes to deadly outbreaks of COVID-19. There have been at least 12,810 cases of COVID-19 reported at correctional facilities across the state leading to 40 deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health website.

COVID-19 cases in federal and state prisons have accounted for a disproportionate share of cases and deaths nationwide, according to a September 2020 study conducted by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. 

The mortality rate in state and federal prisons in 60% higher than it is for the general population when adjusted for age, race and ethnicity. And the number of cases reported is nearly four times that of the general population, according to the study. 

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