Three people at the Wilkes Correctional Center in North Wilkesboro have tested positive for COVID-19, reported the Wilkes County Health Department Thursday afternoon.

The three are two inmates and one staff person at the prison, said Jared Belk, health educator supervisor at the health department.

Also Thursday afternoon, the health department reported that a sixth Wilkes County resident has died from causes associated with COVID-19. The person, in his/her 60s, died Thursday at a hospital in Winston-Salem.

A health department press release said the two inmates and one staff person at the Wilkes Correctional Center are in self-isolation. It also said prison inmates or prison staff are tested when symptomatic and transferred to another facility where they can be medically managed if they test positive.

The Wilkes Correctional Center, on Statesville Road, is a minimum custody state prison housing up to 262 adult males. There have been 1,188 positive COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths related to the virus in prisons and jails across the state.

In a prison or jail, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more lab-confirmed cases. When there is no evidence of continued transmission of COVID-19 in a prison or jail within a 28-day period, the outbreak is considered ended.

“The Wilkes Correctional Center has taken measures to protect detainees and employees to decrease the chances of person to person transmission throughout the facility,” stated the release. It said this includes temperature and symptoms checks twice a day and monitoring other medical information beyond what is normally required.

“The facility is reinforcing the importance of staff staying home when sick or to meet childcare needs, as well as restricted visitor access the center. The center implemented a zero visitor policy and restricted work release beginning in April 2020.”

The release said personal protective equipment is issued and social distancing policies are used where possible.

Willard said the Wilkes Correctional Center has worked to closely to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for mitigation steps.

She said the health department’s communicable disease team has been in constant communication with Wilkes Correctional Center staff. Health department staff have helped when needed regarding employee and detainee health and any new recommendations. 

The health department also has worked with the facility to identify a process for managing confirmed cases and close contacts to cases.

 

Sign Up For Newsletters

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.