Cecil Jail Experiences Largest Correctional COVID-19 Outbreak in State

In the past week, the Cecil County jail has seen over 70 inmates and 16 workers test positive — a sixfold increase from the previous week. 

In the week prior to this spike, the number of positive cases in the jail was one inmate and four officers. So far 133 inmates and 84 staff members have tested negative.

The Baltimore Sun reports on the jail’s response to the outbreak and other precautionary measures that have been in place since March:

Chief Deputy Gerald Widdoes of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office said the detention center has been “working closely” with the Cecil County Health Department and the facility’s contracted medical provider. The health department conducted mass testing of all correctional officers, civilian employees and contract staff from Oct. 9 to Oct. 13, Widdoes said.

“We have previously identified vulnerable inmates, such as those with underlying medical conditions, and have worked with the court systems to alter their bond conditions where appropriate,” Widdoes said. “Public safety is, and will continue to be, our top priority. The health of our inmates and staff in our correctional facility is closely monitored.”

The article also details ongoing concerns from advocacy groups that not enough is being done on the state and local levels to protect inmates and staff from outbreaks in jails and prisons. While numbers in the state prison system have recently remained stable since the pandemic began 993 inmates and 755 prison staff have tested positive with 11 inmates and two correctional officers dying from the virus.

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More than 70 inmates and 16 workers at Cecil County jail test positive for COVID-19, a sharp increase, state says (The Baltimore Sun)