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No COVID-19 cases reported at Jackson County Jail

Multiple Jackson County Jail inmates have been treated for potential COVID-19 symptoms, but all have turned out to be other illnesses.

No Jackson County Jail inmate or staff member has yet tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a release issued Friday night by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and jail administrators say they are taking steps to protect jail staff and inmates.

“To date, the Jackson County Jail has not had a single incident of confirmed COVID-19 in either staff or adults in custody,” the sheriff’s office release states.

Each inmate treated for illnesses associated with the coronavirus has ultimately proved to be “something else,” according to the sheriff’s office. Most inmates’ symptoms have already had their symptoms clear and were returned to the general inmate population.

According to the sheriff’s office, jail administrators set added policies and procedures meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 starting in early March, “when it became evident that this virus was spreading rapidly through the rest of the world.”

Staff began asking enhanced screening questions about symptoms when booking new inmates, and medical staff and corrections deputies are trained to closely watch inmates for inmates who might appear to be ill. Nurses at the jail are dispatched to check on inmates showing signs of illness, and symptomatic inmates are quickly separated from the general population.

Newly booked jail inmates are kept far away from the inmates who’ve been held in jail for months, and jail administrators have lined out spaces in the jail that can be used as quarantine spaces if necessary.

On March 13, the week coronavirus cases started appearing in Oregon, the jail stopped visits and non-essential services such as group 12-step programs, according to the release and an earlier Mail Tribune report.

The jail’s inmate communication vendor, Legacy Inmate Communications, has donated “free weekly phone and video visitation options” for all inmates, according to the sheriff’s office.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

The current Jackson County Jail was built in 1981.{ } Mail Tribune file photo.