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Virginia Department of Corrections making masks for officers, prisoners

State corrections officials have started manufacturing masks to guard their staff and prisoners from sneezes and coughs.

RICHMOND, Va. — In order to keep prison staff, corrections officers and prisoners safe during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the Virginia Department of Corrections is mass-producing sneeze/cough guard masks.

Corrections officials say these masks are not medical-grade, but they hope the items will still protect detainees and prison staff and help slow the spread of COVID-19.

VDOC started production of these masks on Friday, March 20 at all four Virginia Correctional Enterprise apparel plants. The Coffeewood Correctional Center has received 5200 masks and the Dillwyn Correctional Center received 4900.

Currently, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in any of Virginia's prisons.

RELATED: Official: No Virginia inmates have tested positive for COVID-19

The Department of Corrections is hoping to produce up to 15,000 sneeze/cough guard masks a day.

All corrections facilities in the state have moved to modified lockdown to minimize contact between groups of offenders from different buildings. Offenders eat in their pods and go to recreational activities with their own pod of offenders. 

Officials are also making sure that all prisons and correctional facilities are sanitized. 

RELATED: Coronavirus in Virginia | Here are the cases of COVID-19 in the state.

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RELATED: Virginia Department of Corrections using COVID-19 plan to keep inmates, staff safe

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