ELKINS, W.Va. – Approximately 116 inmates and employees at Huttonsville Correctional Center have tested positive for the coronavirus, as of 5 p.m. on May 30.
Following the outbreak in Randolph County at the Huttonsville, the Elkins-Randolph County Health Department was contacted by the governors office and the Department of Health and Human Resources on Thursday to conducted free COVID-19 testing to determine if the outbreak at the facility has spread into the community.
Bonnie Woodrum, The Director of Threat Preparedness stated that even though the notice was short, the health department did everything that they could to set up the two free testing sites in Elkins and Mill Creek.
“You don’t have to have criteria like ‘know you’ve been exposed or have somebody in the family that’s positive,” Woodrum explained. “For this kind of testing, this community sampling, you just have to show up.”
Woodrum said that because of the short notice, they were only able to supply 1,000 tests, 500 for Elkins and 500 for Mill Creek.
Getting tested in a community analysis situation is designed to be simple and efficient. In order to receive a test, one needed to drive up, give contact information such as your name, birthday and phone number. Then wait until it is your turn.
The test takes a couple of uncomfortable minutes but according to Woodrum, the benefits of getting tested vastly outweighs not knowing.
Once the test is completed, medical officials bag it, add a label with information and then place the test in a secured cooler to be later taken to the lab for processing.
Woodrum explained that due to the high volume of tests, it’s important that people wait until the health department contacts them.
“So we will contact you as quickly as we get the results back.”
She emphasized that even if the test returns to be negative, that doesn’t mean someone is off the hook.
“Testing negative today Does not give you free reign to go out and do anything you want to. It is a point of time testing. It tells you right this minute you don’t have enough virus in your system to show up.”
Although the health department could only offer one testing day from 10 – 4 p.m., Woodrum explained that they are currently planning on having another testing next weekend so that they have more time to plan.
To follow the latest correctional facility testing and other data about COVID-19 in West Virginia, head over to the DHHR’s website.