County jail reports second outbreak of COVID

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Alamance County’s jail has reported its second coronavirus outbreak since the ongoing global pandemic reached North Carolina nearly a year ago.

According to the office of Alamance County’s sheriff, the jail’s latest outbreak was identified on Saturday when two jailers and one inmate tested positive for COVID-19 – the strain of coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic. These three infected individuals were enough to constitute an outbreak according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which applies the designation to any collection of two or more cases that crop up in the same group residential facility within 28 days.

The jail’s previous outbreak, which erupted in August, ultimately infected more than 100 inmates and jailers after two of its former inmates tested positive for COVID-19 when they were transferred to a state prison in another county. On the advice of the local health department, the sheriff office implemented new testing and separation requirements that eventually brought the infection’s runaway spread under control.

In a statement on Saturday (Feb.6), sheriff Terry Johnson declared that he and his staff will continue to abide by these measures, which include restricted access to the detention facility, health screenings for all arrestees, and strict quarantines of inmates who test positive for COVID-19.

“Our office will continue to work closely with the Alamance County health department and will follow all recommendations in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 within our detention center,” Johnson announced in Saturday’s statement. “As of now, our one inmate and two staff members who contracted the virus are doing well, but we will continue to pray for their recovery.”

Aside from the jail’s most recent flare up, state officials are also monitoring 28 other “ongoing outbreaks” in Alamance County. The sites of these outbreaks include 8 nursing homes, 19 residential care facilities, and one other group residence.