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Sheriff Should Test Everyone for COVID-19

I was absolutely astonished after reading the press release from the sheriff’s office informing the public that virus testing had happened at the jail. Several things amazed me: First was that the COVID-19 tests were voluntary and that the vast majority of jail employees were not tested. Similarly, fewer than half of the prisoners were administered the test. A total of 380 people could have been tested—should have been tested—and only 131 were.

Second, according to the press statement, no one tested positive, and seven tests were invalid. Even if we are to believe that no one tested positive, how can we be certain that everyone is truly safe who works or is confined in the jail given that such a small percentage of people were actually tested? We need more information from the sheriff. Why wasn’t everyone tested? What precautions are being taken on a daily basis to protect prisoners and staff? What is the jail’s quarantine protocol? What does “safe distancing” look like in a facility that currently houses more than 250 inmates? In the past two months, has anyone from the jail been hospitalized?

I hope that there indeed hasn’t been anyone at the jail who’s contracted the virus. But I would challenge Sheriff Edwards to submit a detailed report on what his department has done/is doing to make sure the jail stays virus-free.