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Culpeper's Coffeewood Correctional coronavirus outbreak more than doubles in week
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Culpeper's Coffeewood Correctional coronavirus outbreak more than doubles in week

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Culpeper County added 61 positive cases of COVID-19 in the past week as the ongoing outbreak more than doubled at Coffeewood Correctional Center in Mitchells.

The Virginia Dept. of Health reported 1,374 total cases for Culpeper County as of Oct. 26 and 18 deaths, which has held steady for the past two weeks.

The jump in positive cases was due, in part, to the outbreak at the state correctional facility in southern Culpeper County. Last Monday, there were 28 offenders on site positive for the contagious respiratory illness.

As of Oct. 26, there were 60 active cases on site, according to Greg Carter, a spokesman with the Virginia Dept. of Corrections. There were no offenders requiring hospitalization as of Monday, he said, and zero deaths and cases among staff. As of August, the average daily population at Coffeewood was 889 inmates, according to Carter.

As with every state prison experiencing an outbreak, the department deployed its pandemic response plan including placing inmates in isolation for medical monitoring. Groups of those positive for the coronavirus can live together in a separate housing unit, Carter said. Close contacts are quarantined for 14 days with twice daily symptom and temperature checks, he said.

Treatment follows the department’s medical guidelines for prevention and treatment of the virus.

As of Monday, Coffeewood had the second largest outbreak among state prisons.

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Deerfield Correctional Center in Southampton County reported 71 active cases among offenders on site as of Oct. 26 and 835 total COVID-19 cases since the outbreak started; 19 inmates there have died from the virus, according to VADOC.

“We can provide many things, including oxygen, on-site. If offenders require an inpatient level of care, they are transported to a hospital. DOC medical staff members are in frequent communication with VDH when outbreaks occur,” Carter said.

In Fauquier, 27 deaths from the novel coronavirus were reported Monday, one more than a week ago.

Statewide, 3,581 people had died from COVID-19 as of Oct. 26n—220 more deaths than a week ago, and more than double the number from a week earlier, according to VDH.

The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 174,275—an increase of 7,447 in the past 10 days.

Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District Director Dr. Wade Kartchner last week addressed the latest CDC guidance related to what constitutes exposure to COVID-19.Previously an exposure was considered someone who was within six-feet for at least 15 consecutive minutes, he said.

But now, the CDD advises frequent shorter exposures throughout a 24-hour period might constitute just as much exposure to the requisite viral particles to cause infection, Kartchner said. The new recommendation states exposure consists of being within six-feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.

This change certainly could lead to identification of more people in a case investigation who might need to quarantine for 14 days and will mostly impact workplaces, schools and other places where people spend all day together off and on,” the local health director said. “On the other hand, this change by the CDC was based on one reported series in a detention facility in Vermont and if infection after such shorter interactions were widespread, we would likely see much higher infection rates.”

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