WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Weber County Jail is growing in size. Eighty-two inmates and one employee tested positive for the virus. Officials say 16 employees and 125 inmates were tested as of Wednesday for COVID-19.
Deputies are working to identify at high-risk inmates.
Lieutenant Joshua Marigoni with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office tells ABC4 News, “[We’re] working with the judges, the county attorneys office, the prosecutors, everybody to try to see if there is a possibility for some of those individuals that are higher risk to have an alternate sentencing option or possibly be released.”
Officials believe not all of the COVID-19 cases started in the jail, but outside of it through community spread.
Because of some contract tracing, deputies were able to find two inmates with the virus in early June.
Deputies say one of the men was diagnosed with a pre-existing cough and he didn’t show symptoms for eight days after that. The other inmate was asymptomatic.
The lieutenant adds 99 percent of the positive cases involving inmates were asymptomatic. He says they’ve had a healthy jail population, so there is no telling how long COVID-19 has been at the jail.
Currently, the biggest issue deputies face is isolating the positive cases.
“Isolating as much as possible, all of the positives, in single cells when we can. When we can’t do a single cell we will do positives together with each other, that were probably already living together, so there are positives within positives at that point, so we are using our facility as best as we can,” said Lt. Marigoni.
Deputies are working with the health departments and other officials to continue mass testing at the jail, as well as educating inmates on COVID-19.
Lt. Marigoni tells ABC4 News, the Weber County Sheriff Office Jail staff is taking donations of cloth masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Adding, “If people want to donate cloth masks, we will accept them at our front desk. Or they can contact us at 801.778.6600 to make arrangements.”