We’ve had 431 inmates in the Ada County Jail test positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus pandemic began last year — but we haven’t had new positive test in over a month.
In fact, we’ve only had one new positive test in the jail population since early February, which is encouraging.
Since the first confirmed test in late July, 437 of those 437 inmates who have tested positive or came in positive (6) have made it through the quarantine period and no longer need COVID-19 precautions inside the jail or have been released.
The first positive test occurred on July 28 when a female inmate complained about a loss of taste and smell. The inmate was tested immediately, and the results came back the next day as positive for COVID-19.
Jail staff immediately moved the inmate to our Health Services Unit (HSU), issued masks to all the other inmates in that dorm, and immediately restricted their movement in the jail.
Jail staff tested all inmates in the dorm, and two other male inmates from other areas at the jail who reported symptoms. Those tests came back in late July with a total of four positive tests — including one for a male inmate who lived in a different dorm.
That led to a series of tests and re-tests for inmates in several different housing areas of the jail over the last several months.
Our latest tally, as of March 26, is 431 positive tests.
Our staff has performed a total of 3,859 COVID-19 tests on inmates since the beginning of the pandemic — covering 2,452 individual people.
Our testing strategy has evolved over the last several months. Our jail staff is now working, if possible, to test inmates booked into the jail within two days of their arrival, while they are still in our closed custody unit and waiting to be classified and moved to their regular housing area in the jail.
Every inmate in the jail is provided with face coverings – which they are supposed to wear at all times unless they are in their bunks.
Our agency is working closely with Central District Health on our response.
Every jail deputy and employee gets a COVID health screening before they go into the jail and start their shift. If the deputy (or employee) has a fever or is showing any of the other symptoms, they are sent home before they enter the jail and must get further medical evaluation.
All Jail deputies and employees who work in the jail (including booking, classifications, the closed custody unit, the dorms, health services unit, and video court) are required to wear masks during all interactions with inmates.
Other ACSO staff and visitors (operations, attorneys, cleaning crews, etc …) are required to wear facial coverings during all interactions with inmates as well.