One detainee at the Criminal Justice Center, also known as the St. Thomas jail, tested positive for tuberculosis Monday, according to V.I. Bureau of Corrections spokesman Kyza Callwood.

Callwood also confirmed that an additional six inmates and detainees and one staff member at the John Bell Adult Correctional Facility on St. Croix have tested positive for COVID-19.

The tuberculosis case was detected during the Bureau’s routine medical intake and screening process, and the individual “was immediately transported to Schneider Regional Medical Center for additional treatment and care,” Callwood said in a news release Tuesday.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Linda Callwood, BOC’s Medical Team began testing all inmates/detainees housed in the specific housing unit along with staff who may have come in contact with the TB-positive detainee. At this time, no other inmate/detainee or staff tested positive for tuberculosis,” Callwood said.

It’s unclear when the last time a prisoner in the Virgin Islands tested positive for tuberculosis. In response to questions from The Daily News, Callwood said information about previous outbreaks was not immediately available Tuesday.

Tuberculosis outbreaks are not unheard of, particularly in corrections facilities where outbreaks can spread rapidly between prisoners housed in close quarters.

The Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, which frequently houses federal criminal defendants awaiting trial in the Virgin Islands, had a tuberculosis outbreak in July 2020, according to court records.

“Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick,” according to the news release.

Bureau Director Wynnie Testamark said in a prepared statement that “medical screening is necessary to identify potential illnesses and to ensure that inmates/detainees with known illnesses are identified for further assessment and continued treatment.”

Both the St. Thomas jail and Bell, also known as Golden Grove prison on St. Croix, have had COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of the pandemic. Most recently, the prison reported on Nov. 17 that a COVID-19 outbreak had infected 14 detainees.

On Nov. 22, “six additional inmates/detainees and one staff member tested positive, bringing the total to 21 inmate/detainee positive cases, including the one staff member,” Callwood said in an update Tuesday.

An additional inmate tested positive on Sunday, and another on Monday.

As of Tuesday, “after retesting the previously reported and recent positive cases, we currently have 18 recovered cases that have now tested negative, leaving five positive cases. There are no hospitalizations as of” Tuesday.

The Bureau “has taken concrete steps to minimize medical-related risk at its facilities in accordance with CDC guidelines,” according to the news release.

Both facilities are still on modified lockdown “with continuous disinfectant and cleaning. Inmate movement has been restricted within the facility. All visits by vendors and all inmate transfers have been suspended until further notice,” according to the news release.

“In-person visits, work details, and prisoner furloughs remain suspended, as they have been since the start of the pandemic. Court hearings held virtually remain unaffected. Attorneys may visit with prisoners via secure video conference by contacting the facility to schedule a video visit.”

- Contact Suzanne Carlson at 340-714-9122 or email