Five jailers recover after testing positive for virus

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Five jailers at the Carroll County Detention Center recently tested positive for COVID-19, chief deputy Maj. Jerry Williams of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office confirmed last week.

Williams said that two detention officers initially tested positive for the virus, then two more. At that point, he said, all of the detention officers were tested.

“We took immediate action, got them quarantined, and we started testing everybody,” Williams said.

A total of five jailers were quarantined because of positive test results, Williams said. Speaking by phone on Wednesday, Aug. 25, he said all of the quarantined jailers were due to be released to return to work within the next few days.

The detention center had already been making efforts to reduce its inmate population before the positive tests among jailers, Williams said, by releasing individuals charged with misdemeanors or non-violent offenses.

“We’ve just been systematically [working to reduce the jail’s inmate population] over the last few weeks because we knew this Delta variant was very contagious, No. 1,” he said. “And because our staff still hasn’t been built up yet, the state recommended and we agreed that we needed to start reducing our jail population where possible.”

Intake logs from the detention center list the inmate population at 105 on Aug. 17. By the following day, Aug. 18, the inmate count was down to 83. On Aug. 20, the inmate count was 73. As of Monday morning, Aug. 30, the count stood at 70.

Williams said there were no cases of COVID-19 among inmates.

“I think due to quick action we were able to prevent an outbreak,” Williams said. “And because our populations in the jail were diminished, we’re able to keep our pods, the numbers in each pod, very, very small. And of course, they’ve all been told if you have any kind of symptoms whatsoever, please let us know. We’ll quarantine that pod or we’ll quarantine the person. And so far, no outbreaks and nobody’s tested positive. So I think we dodged a bullet.”

Williams said the jailers who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced flu-like symptoms and none required hospitalization. He said all five were fully recovered.

Williams said masks are available for detention officers but are not a requirement.

“We have always had masks for them,” Williams said. “Some wear them, some don’t. …From very early on in the pandemic, the sheriff has always been of the mindset: If they want to wear one, great, but I’m not going to force people to wear one.”

Williams said the jail has about 20 detention officers. He said he doesn’t know how many have been vaccinated.

“I don’t have that information,” he said. “We don’t track that information. That’s a personal decision that they have to make on their own. … We don’t say, ‘Have you been vaccinated?’ We don’t log it. We don’t mark it down. That’s a personal decision that each person makes.”

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