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Walton County Jail testing inmates for coronavirus

After several inmates had fevers higher than 100.4 degrees, officials with the Walton County Jail say they're testing all inmates for COVID-19.
After several inmates had fevers higher than 100.4 degrees, officials with the Walton County Jail say they're testing all inmates for COVID-19.(WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 3:15 PM CDT
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (PRESS RELEASE) - Daily medical rounds at the Walton County Jail reveal fevers among several inmates. Now, jail staff are taking additional precautions to identify any possible cases of COVID-19.

Thursday a male inmate was identified as having a temperature higher than our alert threshold which is 100.4 degrees. This prompted temperature testing of the entire inmate population – 393 total. As a result of these screenings, another 17 male inmates were discovered with fevers above our threshold. All are being housed in two separate pods.

“We anticipated and prepared for this scenario,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “We are ready and have set our plan in motion to make sure inmates and staff are cared for.”

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office in coordination with the Walton County Health Department immediately administered 29 COVID-19 tests on inmates located in impacted housing areas. The results of these tests should be available next week.

“It is important to acknowledge that our daily morning medical sick call practices allowed us to discover inmates who were potentially symptomatic,” said Adkinson. “This early detection mitigates any potential spread through isolation and testing.”

As we await those results, the Jail Operations Division continues to adhere to the Sheriff’s Office response plan and protocols.

“Our emphasis continues to be on prevention and eliminating transmission through education, screening of all new intakes, isolation of suspected cases, and relentless cleaning and sanitation of high touch areas,” said Sheriff Adkinson.

All inmates have been issued protective face coverings and staff are taking additional precautions as well while working in the housing areas.

“We are not caught off-guard at the news that some of our inmates are symptomatic and have been preparing for this possibility as we monitor the confirmed cases in regional jails and corrections facilities,” said Adkinson. “Although our desire is for these tests to prove negative for COVID-19, we are fully prepared to address infectious diseases to keep our employees and the inmates as safe as possible.”

At this time there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported for either staff or inmates at the jail.

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