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Latest COVID-19 hotspot is St. Joseph County Jail

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:16 PM EST
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The latest hot spot for new coronavirus cases in St. Joseph County is behind bars.

Results received last Friday showed that 35 inmates at the St. Joseph County Jail tested positive for coronavirus.

As a result, 75 more are in quarantine for being in close contact with the infected.

Suddenly, 22 percent of the entire inmate population is potentially infected.

“This has been our fear since day one. Like I said up (from March) until Friday we only had 13 people who came through our jail that were positive in regard to inmates, and then we have this huge uptick,” said Sheriff William Redman.

Sheriff Redman spoke to us from his home, under quarantine due to close contact with a family member who tested positive.

Back at the jail, eight staff members are now positive, while eight more are quarantined.

And although 4 of 17 jail nurses are now positive, the sheriff says inmates are still getting their medicine and meals.

“It’s difficult inside the jail to social distance completely. That’s what I said from day one you know when I asked for hazard pay early on in the year. You know our staff doesn’t have the option to stay home, people have to come to work they have to interact with people,” Redman said.

The jail is on lockdown to restrict inmate movement and visitors.

There has been talk of possibly releasing some of the inmates to relieve some of the pressure, but that’s a decision that must ultimately be made by judges and prosecutors.

“We’re dealt the hand that we’re dealt and we’re gonna just have to do the best we can to maintain it. And to this point, we’ve done that,” Redman said.

Sheriff Redman said the inmates who tested positive Friday were re-tested Tuesday and results are expected in two or three days.

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