By Joe Johnson
The Athens-Clarke County Jail is on lockdown after inmates tested positive for Covid-19.
“It was done out of precautionary concerns Wednesday evening after two inmates tested positive for COVID-19,” Sheriff John Q. Williams said Friday morning. “Those subjects were move to quarantine and have been isolated since then.”
The sheriff, “That is a very small number, but due to the potential exposure for other inmates and deputies, we activated the lockdown protocol to prevent a mass spread.
The most significant change during a Covid-19 lockdown is restricting outside access to the jail lobby.
“During this pandemic, the preferred method of handling appearances and contacts has been through various digital and virtual means,” Williams said. “Through technology, we have been largely able to accommodate the needs of inmates, attorneys, and the court system.”
The sheriff said that as of Friday morning no additional inmates have tested positive for the virus, and he expected the lockdown could be lifted later in the day.
“The jail has maintained safety protocols, even for the brief period the mask mandates were lifted,” Williams said “The use of masks, heightened sanitization protocols, and minimizing face-to-face contacts have helped us to avoid major outbreaks.
“We acquired sprayers and a solution that eliminates contaminants for up to 30 days and we use these products weekly or as needed,” he said. “We provide masks to all inmates. We have a regular schedule of testing, and we have partnered with Innovative Healthcare since May to provide vaccinations. As a result, positive tests are rare and when we have had cases, the symptoms have been mild at most.”