Increase of coronavirus cases recorded in Maricopa County jails

Jun 5, 2020, 4:45 AM

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — There has been a jump in the number of inmates in Maricopa County jails who have tested positive for the coronavirus this week, according to county officials.

After having six recorded cases as of Saturday, there were 30 on Thursday.

Of those, 23 inmates are still in custody across four different county jails. They are isolated from other inmates and are receiving medical treatment.

Another 78 inmates are in isolation awaiting results of COVID-19 tests.

“Maricopa County Correctional Health Services and Sheriff’s Office are tracking and responding to a rise in COVID-19 cases inside jail facilities,” officials said in a press release Thursday.

MCSO is working to identify staff who potentially had close contact with the infected inmates.

The Sheriff’s Office said the department continues to follow screening protocols implemented in March to immediately identify and isolate new inmates coming into county jails who have symptoms or are considered at-risk.

New inmates are placed in cohort housing, where they stay for two weeks.

This is done to ensure a person does not enter the general inmate population before being cleared of the coronavirus.

Officials also said that every sick inmate is tested for the coronavirus. Of those who are sick and have been tested for the coronavirus, there had been 318 negative tests as of Thursday.

To further mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, MCSO continues to limit who is able to access jails and have contact with inmates. The department is providing inmates with soap, personal hygiene products and face masks.

MCSO also has significantly reduced the jail population from 7,100 in January to about 5,000 people.

It is working with CHS to adjust housing plans in order to reduce the movement of inmates and the potential exposure to COVID-19.

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Increase of coronavirus cases recorded in Maricopa County jails