More than a quarter of inmate have virus at Valley Street Jail

NH Public Radio
Published: 1/5/2021 4:51:33 PM

Fifty-one inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester, according to Superintendent Willie Scurry.

The positive cases were discovered after the jail began testing inmates last week, amidst concerns from attorneys about COVID-19 protocol and a judge’s Dec. 31 order warning of “deliberate indifference to the health of inmates” at the facility.

Superintendent Scurry says the jail is still awaiting results from other tests for an additional 135 inmates.

But absent those results, the numbers are significant: Roughly a quarter of inmates at the state’s largest jail have a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, within a week of the jail conducting extensive testing.

The state health department confirmed that there were “additional cases” since last week but said it was still verifying the numbers.

Scurry said the new cases were identified among two units and that anyone who tested positive is quarantined in their cell. However, inmates with positive cases remain in units with other other inmates who recently tested negative, contrary to CDC guidance.

Scurry said that inmates were being medically monitored once a day but did not clarify if those with underlying health conditions that may cause complications from the virus are receiving particular attention.

In testimony last week, Scurry said 22 staff at the prison have tested positive. The jail is conducting facility-wide testing this week, Scurry said.

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