Alachua County Jail suspends on-site visitation due to spike in COVID cases

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 11:41 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Officials at the Alachua County Jail are implementing policy changes after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

Sheriff’s office officials confirmed 82 inmates have tested positive for the virus. With about 750 inmates in the jail, that means about 10% of the population has COVID-19.

Starting today, ASO suspended on-site visitations as well as programs in the jail.

Because of that, officials are finding other ways for people in jail to stay connected to their loved ones.

“We’re also trying to get some free video and phone calls for the inmates since they can’t have the in-person visitation,” said Lt. Kaley Behl, the Public Information Officer for Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Behl said the COVID spike in the jail accurately reflects how the virus is spreading in the community.

“While we do have a few inmates that are symptomatic, most are asymptomatic and we have no hospitalizations at this time,” she said.

The updated safety protocols require all jail staff to get temperature checks and wear N-95 masks.

Inmates are required to wear masks throughout the facility and in their own housing units.

“We’re increasing the testing that’s being done at the jail, we are also encouraging the vaccination rate to go up,” said Behl.

One inmate who left jail today said he does not think staff are keeping COVID positive inmates quarantined long enough.

Officials said there is a designated area for inmates who are positive for the virus.

Behl said ASO plans on meeting with other criminal justice officials to discuss temporarily pausing arrests on non-violent and misdemeanor crimes, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

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