MOBILE, Ala. (WALA)– Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran says they hope to test all corrections officers at Mobile County Metro Jail for COVID-19 by the end of next week.
The sheriff says this is just one of the precautions they’re taking to slow the virus in one of the toughest environments you can imagine.
Metro jail is just one place where the sheriff says social distancing falls short.
“Just a minimum what we can do, but I can assure you that we’ve had the experts in the jail and we’re following the proper protocol that is set by national standards,” said Sheriff Sam Cochran.
In the last six weeks at least 300 non-violent, sickly and elderly inmates have been released to keep the virus from spreading.
“Anybody and everybody that comes in the jail, employees included now, have their temperatures tested. If they have higher than a certain temperature they’re not admitted.”
With more than 200 employees and 1,100 inmates, so far the jail has seen minimal cases.
Right now eight corrections officers are out sick with COVID-19.
While six others have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
“It may be that our corrections officers, as similar to other people, are catching it on the outside and maybe bringing it to them so that’s again why we’re testing our corrections officers.”
Sheriff Cochran says seven inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and six are being monitored.
“If they develop additional symptoms then we’ll further quarantine them and monitor them for the coronavirus. If they get it, they’re further separated and for a period of 14 days then they’ll be tested during that time.”
New inmates also have their temperatures taken and are sent to a separate part of the jail to be quarantined for at least a week even if they don’t show symptoms.
Corrections officers are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when interacting with inmates.
Inmates are given their own supplies to clean their cells.
The sheriff believes that’s working to keep the numbers down.
Of the 300 inmates released from jail only one has gone back in, accused of committing a burglary.
The sheriff says throughout the county they’re seeing less crime.