Berrien County Jail receives coronavirus test results back

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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Today the Michigan National Guard was back in Berrien County to do extensive coronavirus testing-this time-at long term care facilities.

Last Friday, the guard performed 117 tests at the Berrien County Jail.

The results of the jail tests were released today.

Until now, officials at the Berrien County Jail certainly hoped and assumed that the coronavirus had not made it inside.

Now they have some solid science to back that up.

Last Friday, every inmate and deputy at the Berrien County Jail was offered a coronavirus test.

All 95 of the inmate tests and all 22 of the deputy tests came back negative.

54 inmates representing about 36% of the jail population-refused to be tested.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said he felt good about the results.

“Here’s a group of people that have come to jail, their days that they’ve been here vary, you know some just came, some have been here for awhile that they all came back negative," Bailey said. "That’s a good sign.”

That’s not to say the jail hasn’t had some close calls.

The jail itself has been testing inmates who show symptoms of coronavirus and two of those 19 inmates tested positive.

“So far we’ve had two people come back positive," Bailey said. "One on a hold from another state. That person was released from our jail when that state said they weren’t going to come and pick them up. The other individual that came back positive had already bonded out and the health department also are doing their checks on that person.”

The sheriff says that he has spent about $80,000 to deep clean and disinfect the jail since the coronavirus crisis erupted in March.

The administration has also purchased an ultra violet light device that will be used to sanitize the jail’s interior.

The clean coronavirus bill of health at the jail has required some sacrifice.

“If you don’t work here, don’t have a purpose here, you can’t come inside our jail," Bailey said. "We canceled all of our classes so all the teachers are not coming in, all the volunteers are not coming in, our forgotten ministries are not coming in. Right now it’s just inmates and our staff.”