First Norfolk City Jail inmate tests positive for COVID-19


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Media Contact: Deanna LeBlanc
 April 23, 2020
(757) 589-5692
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(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 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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