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Corrections Sets the Record Straight After Website Offers False Information

Golden Grove Correctional Facility on St. Croix. (File photo)
Golden Grove Correctional Facility on St. Croix (File photo)

Earlier this week, it was learned that 20 people at the St. Thomas jail tested positive for COVID-19. The statement about the St. Thomas facility said there were no cases of COVID-19 at the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility – more widely known as Golden Grove – on St. Croix.

By Thursday morning, a local website published inaccurate rumors of four corrections officers being sent home from the St. Croix facility, because they had been in contact with infected people, which contradicted the government statement.

On Thursday afternoon, a statement from the Corrections Bureau called out a website that appeared to be at the core of the rumors.

Thursday afternoon’s statement signed by BOC Director Wynnie Testamark said the website had put out “false and misleading information, which caused needless anxiety and confusion.”

Testamark said that on Monday a St. Croix corrections officer stopped in an administrator’s office before entering the main prison area to say he had received a call from a friend who had tested positive for COVID-19. Because the officer had been in contact with the friend over the weekend, the officer reported the exposure to a supervisor.

Because there were other officers and a civilian staff member in the office at the time the officer reported the exposure, the officer who had potentially been exposed, along with everyone in the office at the time, was sent home to be on the safe side.

Testamark’s statement said that as of Thursday there were no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at Golden Grove, and none of the employees who went home Monday have tested positive or reported any symptoms.

The website in question had written: “Five Prison Officers on St. Croix Sent Home to Quarantine After Coming in Contact With COVID-19-Infected People, BOC Says.”

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