CLEVELAND — The surge in coronavirus cases across Ohio is being felt internally at the Cuyahoga County Jail.
According to a release issued by the county on Tuesday, the jail is experiencing an increase of COVID positive inmates in recent weeks "that mirrors the way the virus has spread throughout our community."
The jail had two COVID-positive inmates on November 5th. The number of infected inmates began increasing during the week of November 16th. As of December 1, the jail has 30 inmates who are confirmed/presumed COVID positive.
The county says jail inmates are medically screened at intake and isolated in dedicated housing for seven days. If an inmate tests positive, he or she is immediately moved to COVID housing. Inmates who receive two negative COVID tests are moved to the general population and classified accordingly.
Medical staff from MetroHealth provide care to the inmates in dedicated COVID units, which are directly supervised by correctional staff. Throughout the jail, inmates are provided face masks and appropriate PPE is provided to correctional staff. Cleaning and sanitation practices have increased considerably since the COVID was realized in the jail in April.
Jail staff are screened daily and continue to be trained on up-to-date procedures to assure their safety and inmates’ safety. PPE and handwashing stations are available through the facility. Remote video visitation is available for friends, family, and attorneys.
Representatives from the Cuyahoga County Executive, Prosecutor, Public Defender, MetroHealth, and Common Pleas and Municipal Court Judges have been in regular discussion about ways to reduce the inmate population at the jail since before the first COVID infection. Reducing the jail population creates space for isolation and quarantine of inmates. According to the county, those discussions continue.
Editor's Note: The below story aired on June 19, 2020