It started Saturday, when the first inmate at the Alachua County Jail tested positive for COVID-19. Now, 74 test results have come back. Eight were positive.
All positive inmates were asymptomatic, according to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office a Monday press release. The first inmate, who was in the jail for two weeks, was quarantined after the jail performed a test Friday evening.
While one of the inmates refused to be tested, 52 of the tests returned negative and 13 returned pending, ACSO Spokesperson Art Forgey said.
Forgey didn’t know how long the other positive inmates have been in the jail. He said the first inmate to test positive was recently moved to another housing area.
A contract health care provider at the jail tested positive last week, Forgey said. He wasn’t sure what exact date the worker tested positive.
All inmate movement in two pods, or enclosed housing units within the jail, is restricted, the release said. Of the 642 inmates at the jail, all 74 living in the pods were tested and are now quarantined, Forgey said.
Disposable masks were given to all inmates in the infirmary as well as those in dormitory-style housing units Tuesday, the release said. Forgey said this was the first time masks were given to general population inmates. Previously, only inmates going to court appearances were given masks.
When asked about why masks were given Tuesday, Forgey said it was because masks are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when social distancing isn’t possible.
The masks will be replaced during the weekly hygiene handouts, the release said. All incoming inmates will be screened and their temperatures will be taken. The jail began working with medical providers in March to screen all booked inmates, Forgey said
The Alachua County Health Department is involved with testing and contact tracing.