156 inmates, 8 detention deputies test positive for COVID-19 in Clay County Jail

Inmates with COVID in Clay

Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook said, as of today, 156 of the 472 inmates at the Clay County jail have tested positive for coronavirus. That comes out to about 33% of inmates with COVID-19.

But there could be even more cases that aren’t recorded. That’s because, according to Sheriff Cook, that total count does not include the 60-70 inmates who have refused to be tested.

“It was really only a matter of time before either an employee or a new inmate brought COVID-19 into the facility,” said Sheriff Cook, during a news conference on Monday afternoon.

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The Clay County Department of Health said because the jail is a shared space, there will be a higher risk of exposure.

Inmates are screened as soon as they arrive at the jail.

Out of 104 of their detention deputies, 8 of them have also tested positive.

“As a Friday, we sent in a three-person investigation team to interview to do interviews with all the positive cases and look at the contact exposures,” said Heather Huffman, a Clay County Health Officer.

Huffman said they also sent a two-man team in today to do additional testing.

They’re planning to start testing on a two-week rotation, so can identify COVID-19 positive cases, quicker.

“Those folks who are in our control and custody and care have full access to medical personnel 24/7,” said Sheriff Cook.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said detainees who test positive are being isolated.

“We have an initial isolation  period of seven days we’ve now extended that to 14 days. They’re not allowed to leave certain cell Block area,” said Chris Coldiron, the Director of the Detention Department.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said they are continually sanitizing and cleaning the facility and we’re using a disinfectant fogger throughout the jail.

They say their staff is utilizing negative airflow cells, suspended inmate programs, and we’ve limited our inmate work crews.

New inmates are isolated and quarantined, as well as any inmate who has tested positive, has refused testing, or who shows symptoms.

“We’ve had these preventative measures in place since March, and we will continue to keep those in place and add additional measures as the situation evolves,” said Sheriff Cook.

Sheriff Cook said all employees are required to masks and PPE. Cook said employees will also be given more hand sanitizer.

She also said masks and additional cleaning items are given to inmates.