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Low COVID-19 cases in Ingham County Jail despite previous community spike

December 4, 2020
The Ingham County Sheriff's Office on December 03, 2020.
The Ingham County Sheriff's Office on December 03, 2020.

Despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Ingham County, county jail cases remain low, according to an update from Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth.

As of Nov. 28, only two COVID-19 positive inmates remain and have yet to complete their isolation period.

Both inmates are recent arrests known to be positive when taken into custody. They are currently housed in isolation with little to no symptoms.

All other inmates that tested positive have already completed their isolation period. Only minor medical interventions have been needed for a few inmates and none were in need of transferring to a medical facility, the statement said.

The sheriff's office teamed up with Ingham County Health Department and jail staff to clean the facility, mass test and isolate inmates, and monitor the health and safety of all inmates daily.

All new inmates are tested for COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, according to Ingham County Health Department Communications Specialist Amanda Darche.

"We will test them while they're in there and as long as after 14 days they don't test positive or don't have symptoms of COVID, then they get transferred to general population," Wriggelsworth said.

Depending on their classification, inmates can interact with one another if they have completed quarantine procedures, Wriggelsworth said.

In accordance with COVID-19 jail procedures, the facility reduced its inmate population from 300 on Nov. 11 to 266 on Nov. 28. The sheriff's office worked with court officials to decide which low-risk inmates were released.

"Some of them ... their sentence ended. Some of them were able to post bond," Wriggelsworth said. "And other judges went through their inmate list and decided whether they could lower some bonds and/or forgive a few days remaining on a sentence."

As of Tuesday, Ingham County reported a total of 9,148 cases and 119 deaths since the pandemic began. Of these cases, about 7,000 and 40 deaths occurred after Sept. 1.

Cases could start to decrease; however, recent Thanksgiving travel may cause another spike.

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