An incarcerated man at Southern Regional Jail has tested positive for Covid-19, West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (WVMAPS) officials confirmed Thursday.

Lawrence Messina, WVMAPS director of communications, said that the test could be a "false positive."

"Results from a re-test are pending," Messina said Thursday. "The inmate in question is quarantined from the rest of the facility, as per (West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation)'s response policy for COVID-19."

Messina said that "circumstances of this case" prompted a second test for the inmate whose first test showed a positive reading.

"We've had multiple false positives in several facilities," Messina said, adding that the results are "nothing to do with the inmates' behavior."

"It's the accuracy rate of various kinds of tests" that cause the false positives, he added.

 A man who reportedly shared a cell with the quarantined patient has also shown symptoms of COVID-19, according to the cellmate's mother.

"My son has been sick with what they call the 'flu' for around eight days," she said. 

The woman, whose identity is being withheld to protect the health care privacy rights of her incarcerated son, said that her son had shared a cell with the inmate who later tested positive.

"As a result, they tested my son, and he is waiting for results," she reported. "We are trying to get him transferred to ARH."

Under state policy, prisoners who believe they have contracted Covid-19 or another respiratory illness are to notify jail staff immediately. The patient will be assessed at the prison or jail.

Those who test positive are quarantined from the rest of the population, said Messina.

The state contracts Prime Care Medical of West Virginia, a subsidiary of Prime Care Medical in Harrisonburg, Pa., to provide health care services to prisoners at SRJ.

In the past, family members of inmates have reported that their incarcerated loved ones are not receiving appropriate medical care at SRJ.

On Christmas Eve, 38-year-old Christal Dawn Cadle was discovered dead in her cell at SRJ, following a medical furlough to Raleigh General Hospital.

Her family reported she had not received appropriate medical attention for her condition once she re-entered SRJ.

In early December, 44-year-old cancer patient Eddie Williams Jr. of Artie died while on home confinement, his attorney Robert Dunlap of Beckley reported. 

Williams had been diagnosed with melanoma while at SRJ and had been released to home confinement in October. Dunlap and Williams' girlfriend, Stephanie Ashley of Artie, reported that Williams had received inadequate medical care while at SRJ.






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