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COVID-19 outbreak hits county jail

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 9:33 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT
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CROSS COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - The Cross County jail has nine positive COVID-19 cases. That includes six inmates and three staff members.

Sheriff David West says this is the first COVID-19 outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. He says they already have strict procedures in place, but they’re learning from their mistakes.

They’re still waiting on the results of over 60 tests.

West says an inmate went to a mental hospital, then back to the jail. The inmate ended up infecting others. The jail usually tests new inmates for COVID-19, but they assumed the inmate would be virus-free.

“You think from a controlled environment to a controlled environment, to a controlled environment, back to a controlled environment, you’re okay. Apparently, they don’t have the same standards we do, and he came back as a carrier,” said West. “Made a mistake, but we’ve learned from it, and it won’t happen again.”

West says they’ll get results within the next 10 days. All of the positive inmates have been moved to a quarantine pod.

As far as procedures, West says they don’t allow in-person visitation. It’s done virtually. They clean twice a day and have never lifted their mask policy.

West says their new jail will help out with COVID-19. There will be more pods and beds to spread out. They move to the new jail in September.

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