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Sheriff Moore Explains Saturday Incident At Alleghany Regional Jail

(Editor's note: The following is a news release from the Alleghany County/Covington Sheriff's Office.)

Covington, VA (June 10, 2024) - On Saturday, June 8, 2024 at approximately 1:30 p.m. Alleghany Regional Jail staff was conducting procedures to prevent an infestation within the female dorm. Inmates were provided with a 2 ounce bottle of shampoo and instructed to apply it to their scalps.

During this time Deputies were in the process of disinfecting the entire area with items provided through state contract. Deputies noticed a couple of the female inmates begin to show signs of a possible seizure. Medical attention was provided and during this time several other inmates experienced the same symptoms.

Jail staff immediately evacuated the entire dorm by placing the inmates inside the gymnasium with a deputy monitoring them for symptoms. At that time a call from Alleghany County dispatch center went out to all local rescue squads to respond to the jail sallyport for a mass casualty incident. Additional personnel were also contacted and responded to the Alleghany Regional Jail to assist. At the time it was suspected that a poisoning or drug overdose was taking place.

In total six inmates were transported to Lewis Gale Alleghany hospital and treated for the exposure. Each ambulance was escorted by Sheriff’s office personnel and at no time were any rescue personnel or citizens in any danger.

Upon arrival, Sheriff Moore and Captain Larnerd (assistant jail administrator) conducted a walk-through of the dorm and made the decision that the entire dorm would be searched for any illegal substances and that a narcotic K-9 would sweep the dorm as well. This was conducted and no items were found.

Sheriff Moore then responded to the hospital and made contact with each individual inmate as well as the attending physician. Each inmate was alert and able to communicate. Each inmate was screened for illegal substances through toxicology tests and each given a CT scan. All of these tests were negative. Sheriff Moore was then contacted by Chief Deputy Deem and Captain Larnerd who stated that during review of the video from the dorm, it was noticed that the inmates were seen rubbing the shampoo on their face and nose area. Sheriff Moore immediately contacted the Dr. and advised what had been seen. After several hours of observation, it was determined that the inmates must have ingested a small amount of the shampoo, which caused them to possibly suffer from a respiratory event. All but one of the inmates were discharged and returned back to the Alleghany Regional Jail and closely monitored for the remainder of the weekend. The other inmate was treated for other medical issues that pre-dated her admission into the jail.

Sheriff Moore wants to thank all local rescue personnel that responded to this incident and possibly saved the lives of the inmates.

On Monday, June 10, 2024, poison control was contacted by the Alleghany Regional jail staff and followed up from the conversation with the Dr. from Saturday. The on-staff toxicologist stated that he didn’t feel the symptoms were caused by any kind of chemical reaction involving the three substances that were used on that date.

Sheriff Moore stated that it is regretful that this event happened and he wishes to inform the public that procedures have been changed concerning the disinfecting of the inmate housing areas to prevent this from happening in the future. Moore further stated that he advises everyone to carefully read the instructions as well as the warning labels on all medications before using.

The phone number for the Virginia poison center is 1-800-222-1222.

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