18 inmates in Clay County jail with COVID-19


GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged for the first time Friday that there are cases of coronavirus in the county jail.

According to the release, 18 inmates that have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus are isolated and their symptoms are treated accordingly. The inmates have full access to medical care and they are screened several times a day.

The Sheriff’s Office said there are no inmates at this time in need of advanced medical treatment.

The release precautions in place to limit exposure to other inmates include: no outside visitors are coming into the facility, except for necessary personnel; protective equipment is provided to staff and inmates; additional disinfecting of the housing units is taking place several times throughout each shift.

The Sheriff’s Office said those measures have been in place for several months.

All inmates are issued masks and they are required to wear them outside of their cell. All Sheriff’s Office employees are required to wear masks in common areas. Inmates received into the facility after arrest are screened before acceptance into the facility. An additional screening takes place during processing.

“We are making every effort to ensure the health and safety of all the inmates and our staff. We are also coordinating with local health officials through this process,” Public Information Officer Laura Shassberger wrote. “Our jail staffing has daily screening upon entry into the facility, and staffing modifications are implemented to reduce jail personnel entering the facility during each seven-day work week.”

“We are taking every precaution necessary to help keep our members and inmates safe during this pandemic,” wrote Sheriff Michelle Cook, who was just sworn in on Tuesday. “We’ve implemented safety measures in every aspect of our operations at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and while it has changed how we operate, we are still committed to keeping our employees and those who are in our custody and control as safe as possible.”

The Clay County Jail currently has 462 inmates, according to Shassberger.

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