First confirmed coronavirus case in Salt Lake County Jail

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FILE – In this March 16, 2011, file photo, a security fence surrounds inmate housing on the Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. Health experts say prisons and jails are considered a potential epicenter for America’s coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – According to officials with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the first prisoner in Salt Lake County Jail received a positive COVID-19 test result Thursday.

A press release from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office states the prisoner has been medically isolated and all individuals housed in the same unit have been moved to medical quarantine cells.

Officials say the prisoner who tested positive, had flu-like symptoms on Tuesday, March 31. The prisoner was immediately isolated in a negative pressure cell and, after testing negative for flu, was tested for COVID-19, officials add.

Based on physician recommendations, deputies transferred 51 prisoners, in small groups from Oxbow Jail to the Metro Jail to be medically quarantined in individual cells, according to officials.

Deputies facilitating the transfer used CDC-recommended personal protective equipment during the transfer. Transferred prisoners were given masks and provided new clothing and bedding.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our staff, prisoners, and the public. Over the last three weeks the jail has been preparing to handle COVID-19,” said Sheriff Rosie Rivera. “We want to assure the community who have loved ones working at or incarcerated in our facility that we are doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that we will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.”

Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office was also notified Thursday that a deputy and civilian employee tested positive for COVID-19. The deputy and civilian have not been in the facility in the last five days, officials say.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office says they are working closely with the Salt Lake County Health Department on COVID-19 prevention and monitoring. They say 94 prisoners are under medical evaluation and quarantine protocols are being followed. To date, 6 prisoners have been tested for COVID-19 at the jail; five have come back negative and one positive.

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