The Alachua County Department of the Jail announced that eight inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as five administrative employees and a nurse.
According to Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Art Forgey, the first inmate testing positive for COVID-19 was reported on Saturday, July 4th.
“The test was performed late Friday evening and the inmate was quarantined. This inmate had been in the jail for 14 days.”
As of Monday morning, July 6th, the total climbed to eight positive test results, 52 negative results, 13 pending and one refusal of testing. There are 74 inmates under quarantine.
One contract employee in the medical area, a nurse, tested positive last week, according to Forgey. And five employees from the administration building have tested positive. There are 350 people that work at the jail.
As a result of the positive cases, Forgey said precautions were taken to control the spread.
“Two pods at the jail have been placed in a restricted movement status and all inmates tested,” Forgey reported. “All inmates testing positive have been asymptomatic thus far and have been quarantined. The Alachua County Health Department is heavily involved with the testing and contact tracing.”
The age range of the positive tests is 18 to 61 years of age.
Effective July 2nd, disposable masks were issued/offered to all inmates in open bay/ dormitory type housing units, Forgey reported.
But masks, up until July 2nd, were issued to inmates only to go to court but not inside the jail, Forgey confirmed, despite the Alachua County emergency order that requires masks be worn in public settings where maintaining social distancing is difficult.
“Inmates assigned to the Infirmary will also be issued/offered mask,” according to Forgey.
The mask can be replaced once a week during hygiene weekly handouts or as they become worn.
“Temperature checks and screening will continue for all incoming inmates,” Forgey reported. “Our partners in Court Administration, State Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office have all been advised of the positive tests and continued steps to prevent the spread.”
As of July 4th, there were 642 inmates at the Alachua County Jail.
This is a developing story, and will be updated as more details are learned.