The following statement was issued Thursday afternoon by Clarke County Sheriff John Q. Williams:
I just wanted to reach out and give you some facts about the status of our jail. I know some rumors have been going around that there is a COVID outbreak. Here are the facts as I know them to date.
There had been no positive results from inmate testing for the Covid-19 virus beginning with the initial concerns in 2020 up to the beginning of the year. Efforts to keep the inmate population down have kept the number of people in our jail at around 300 to 320 people on average. Either late Tuesday 1/12/21 or early Wednesday 1/13/21, we received our first positive results for 3 inmates. As is the current protocol, we immediately housed those inmates in our medical unit to treat and monitor them. We cleaned the unit all 3 were housed in and contacted the private company the county is contracted with for sanitizing areas that may have been contaminated and placed that unit under precautionary lockdown. We continued to monitor all who may have been exposed and have sought to provide testing for all who desire them. In two weeks’ time, we have a total positive test total of 5 (five), out of an average daily population of 320. Furthermore, of those tested, most have been asymptomatic or exhibited mild symptoms at most. Our goal is to make sure we have no exposures, but we are making every effort to at least maintain maximum possible safety and health levels.
Just to let you know, we house any incoming inmates in a quarantined area for up to 14 days prior to assigning them to any unit. This is just one of many precautions we take to reduce likeliness of spread of this or any other disease at this point. We have worked with the courts, judges, and prosecutors to make decisions that are in the best interest of all involved parties. We will continue to seek out best practices for all people involved in the legal system and processes in Clarke County.