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Marion County Jail inmates and staff test positive for COVID-19

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 12:27 AM EDT
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MARION CO., Fla. (WCJB) - An outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the Marion County Jail has sheriffs employees isolating themselves some inmates.

Sheriff Billy Woods issued a letter Tuesday addressing COVID-19 rumors at the jail. He explains in the letter that there was an outbreak of the virus but it was contained within the jail’s maximum security wing.

Initially, eight inmates displayed signs of the virus and tested positive. This lead to the testing of 135 more inmates - eight different inmates refused to be tested.

“We have about 1,458 inmates in the jail and right now the latest numbers were 36 of those had tested positive and their being isolated in ‘Alpha Pod’. We also tested our employees working at the jail and 10 of our employees turned up positive and precautions have been taken there. They’re isolated and sent home,” MCSO Public Information Director, Sgt. Paul Bloom said.

Several precautions have been put in place to help keep staff and inmates safe. All people, including inmates, are screened before they enter the jail. Masks are also required to be worn by staff when interacting with an inmate or if an inmate leaves their pod.

“This is not a wildfire tearing through the jail so to speak. We’re following the medical advice from our medical staff and the Department of Health here in Florida as well, doing everything we know how to do to make sure this is put to rest,” Bloom added.

The sheriff also addressed claims of substandard conditions at the jail, writing that inmates do have access to clean drinking water, and cleaning supplies.

To see the official statement from Sheriff Woods in regards to the Marion County Jail, click here.

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