TO: All Bureau of Corrections Staff
FROM: Wynnie Testamark, Director
RE: Setting the Record Straight on GGACF Staff Sent Home Monday
DATE: August 13, 2020
An article that appeared in the V.I. Consortium yesterday about the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility (“Golden Grove”) contained false and misleading information, which caused needless anxiety and confusion. Let me set the record straight.
At approximately 8:30 a.m., Monday, August 10, 2020, a correctional officer who had stopped at an office in the administrative area of Golden Grove before entering the main prison area, received a phone call from an acquaintance who reported that he had tested positive for COV1D-19. Because the correctional officer was in close contact with the acquaintance while off duty over the weekend, he/she immediately called their supervisor to report that he/she may have been exposed. This was the proper and responsible thing for the correctional officer to do.
Out of an abundance of caution, a total of 5 BOC employees — 4 correctional officers and 1 civilian staff — were ordered out of the facility for the simple reason that they were in the same office at the same time with the correctional officer when he/she reported his/her potential exposure.
At no time did the correctional officer who was potentially exposed enter any other area of Golden Grove. Except for the 4 other employees who were sent home Monday, no other BOC employee was in close proximity with the reporting officer after he/she learned of his/her potential exposure. Therefore, no inmate or other BOC employee was exposed because of Monday’s events.
As of today, there are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at Golden Grove, and none of the BOC employees sent home Monday have tested COVID-19 positive or reported any COVID-19 symptoms. The actions taken on Monday were taken out of an abundance of caution to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into Golden Grove.
The Bureau is working hard to keep its staff and inmates safe. But we need you to do your part. Wash your hands, practice social distancing, wear your masks, wear enhanced PPE when circumstances warrant, and if you’re not feeling well, please stay home. The health, safety, and well being of our staff, their families, and inmates is the Bureau’s number one priority.
Finally, I want to thank the BOC staff for your dedication and hard work as we navigate our way though this difficult and challenging time.