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36 of 41 inmates in one Douglas County Jail unit test positive for coronavirus

36 of 41 inmates in one Douglas County Jail unit test positive for coronavirus


The majority of inmates in one of the Douglas County Jail’s housing units have tested positive for COVID-19, the county announced Monday.

It is the jail’s largest COVID-19 outbreak, by far, since the onset of the pandemic. Of 41 inmates in the housing unit, 36 tested positive, according to a statement by the Douglas County Department of Corrections.

The department tested the inmates after learning last week that a contractor at the jail had tested positive, as well as two inmates who worked closely with that person as trustees.

County officials learned of the test results Monday.

The housing unit where the outbreak occurred is separate from the intake area where more than 100 protesters were processed over the weekend, said Leia Baez, spokeswoman for the county. So none of the protesters would have been exposed to the inmates carrying the virus, she said.

Most inmates were asymptomatic as of Monday, said Corrections Director Mike Myers.

The county is hopeful that its protocols for COVID-19 will contain the outbreak to the affected housing unit, he said.

Infected inmates with medical conditions or who require medication were transferred to the jail’s COVID-19 quarantine unit. The others are remaining in their housing unit.

“We are closely monitoring everyone,” Myers said.

No new inmates will be assigned to the unit until it has been medically cleared, Myers said.

These 36 positive results bring to 50 the total number of inmates known to be infected. Eleven of those came into the jail with the coronavirus, the county says.

A total of 23 employees and the one contractor have tested positive. (Contract workers assist at the jail with a variety of tasks, including medical, commissary and kitchen work, Baez said.)

Douglas County Corrections has about 500 employees. As of Monday, there were about 1,180 inmates in jail.Our best staff images from July 2020

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email:

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