By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
ST. ALBANS TOWN -- Five staff members and 28 inmates at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans Town tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 virus on Thursday, the Vermont Department of Corrections announced this evening.
The 28 inmates are being transferred to the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury for isolation and treatment, Corrections Commissioner James Baker said in a news release.
The five staff members will be quarantined and not report to work, Baker said.
The announcement comes one day after the state confirmed one inmate had tested positive for the deadly virus at the prison on Lower Newton Road. Earlier three staff members had tested positive also.
The Vermont DOC said it had completed a full round of tests for 328 inmates and staff members by 12:30 p.m. Thursday. As of 1 p.m., DOC had received 167 tests results. The remaining results are due on Friday, the DOC said.
The 28 inmates are asymptomatic, the DOC said.
The Vermont Corrections Department has been preparing the St. Johnsbury facility on U.S. 5 as a possible surge site in case there was rush of COVID-19 cases. Inmates from the St. Johnsbury prison have been shifted to the work camp complex at the south end of the correctional complex, the Caledonian-Record reported.
NWSCF remains on a full facility lock down as was announced earlier this week by Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.
All staff and inmates at the facility were issued masks to wear at all times beginning Monday April 6.
All facilities have now been placed in a full lockdown.
A full lockdown is a controlled measure to mitigate any further spread of the virus throughout the facility. Inmates will remain in their cells, essential services, meals, and medication will be brought to them and movement will be restricted except for emergency and hygiene purposes.
Additionally, protective masks have been delivered to all facilities to be used by staff and inmates.