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FCC Hazelton worker tests positive for virus

HAZELTON — A staff member at FCC Hazelton has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Rick Heldreth, president of Local 420 of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents workers at Hazelton, confirmed the positive test Wednesday morning.

“Preliminarily, this appears to be travel-related (not from the facility), but we are taking every precaution,” Heldreth said in an email.

Contacts are being traced and other people are being isolated, he said. It also is unrelated to the transfer of quarantined inmates to FCI GIlmer, he said.

The Preston County Health Department had not yet been notified of the test, but Health Department Director V.J. Davis said the testing facility would have notified the county in which the person lives, and that isn’t necessarily Preston County.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons did not have the positive test listed on its COVID-19 website as of 9:20 a.m. Wednesday. In earlier releases, the Bureau said it would update the site at 3 p.m. daily.

The Bureau’s website does indicate five inmates at FCI Gilmer have tested positive there.

Earlier this month, Preston County commissioners, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, Congressman David McKinley and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice opposed the BOP’s plan to use FCC Hazelton and FCI Gilmer as quarantine sites.

Through their efforts, the plan was withdrawn, but only after 124 inmates were transferred to FCI Gilmer. Prior to that, no inmates or workers at either prison tested positive for the virus.

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