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Friday, April 3, 2020

Six Cuyahoga County Jail Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 9:27 AM

The Cuyahoga County Jail. - FLICKRCC
  • FlickrCC
  • The Cuyahoga County Jail.
Six Cuyahoga County jail inmates are presumed positive for COVID-19, the county announced this morning.

Those inmates, whose ages were not released, are in quarantine. None of the six were recent entries, arriving between July 2019 and February 2020, meaning they contracted it inside the facility.

All six were housed in the same pod.

“There’s no way these six inmates brought COVID-19 into the jail,” Armond Budish said at this morning's daily county press briefing.

In the weeks leading up to the expected surge in coronavirus cases, local judges, prosecutors and others worked to bring down the jail's population, which had been around 2,000 inmates throughout recent history, by releasing low-level offenders and the elderly in a preventative effort to make the facility less susceptible to an outbreak, or at least a deadly one. Officials said the current population is at 1,021, about half of the usual operating average prior to the pandemic.

"We are prepared for this," Budish said.

Jails and prisons are uniquely problematic petri dishes for the spread of the disease. Advocates have pushed for even further reductions in jail populations and increased testing, as to identify positive patients and separate them from other inmates and guards.

Corrections officers who interacted with those inmates have been sent home and the jail is trying to determine what other inmates and areas those who tested positive interacted with this week.

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