3rd WVa corrections officer dies of COVID-19


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — An officer at a West Virginia women’s prison has became the third corrections employee to die from the coronavirus, authorities said Monday.

Paula Jo Tomlin, an officer at the Lakin Correctional Center in Mason County since March 2020, died Saturday at a hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio, the state Department of Homeland Security said in a news release.

Tomlin, 51, a resident of Middleport, Ohio, is survived by her husband of 27 years, Cpl. Timothy D. Tomlin, also a Lakin correctional officer.

“All of us share his grief and his loss in a most personal way,” Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen said in a message to corrections employees.

An officer at the Saint Marys Correctional Center in Pleasants County died in January 2021 while under treatment for COVID-19, and an officer at the Northern Regional Jail in Marshall County died last February.

There were 559 active cases of the virus among inmates and residents of correctional facilities as of Friday along with 190 cases involving corrections officers, according to state health figures.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in West Virginia have surpassed 22,000 in each of the past two weeks, the two highest on record during the pandemic. There were 976 people hospitalized for the virus Monday. The record is 1,012 set on Sept. 24.

(OVP Editor’s Note: According to the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security news release, Jividen further stated to DCR employees, “Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to Cpl. Tomlin from everyone in the DCR at this most sorrowful time. Please keep Paula and Tim, their family members, and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. Special prayers also for the friends and co-workers of Paula and Tim at Lakin, and throughout the DCR, as we mourn Paula’s loss and honor her service.”)

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