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COVID-19 concerns at the Bay County Jail

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 9:42 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -

Avoid indoor spaces with large groups- that seems to be the general advice from most health experts when it comes to avoiding COVID-19, but how is that possible in a jail built to confine 1,100 people?

“This is COVID-19, they don’t have a few days to wait and in those few days they’re spreading it to everybody,” said Shanna Kreglow whose brother was quarantined at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Jail last week after showing symptoms and is still awaiting his results. “They’re supposed to be wearing masks. He says that sometimes they don’t but now they’re requiring that inmates and the C.O.‘s to wear masks but they weren’t- this just recently they have started doing this,” she said.

Cody Davenport also has a brother at the jail where he claims social distancing is non-existent.

“It’s impossible, there’s no way that you can do that,” Davenport alleged the jail does not require inmates to wear masks, “when you basically only allow your guards to wear masks, you’re spitting in the face of inmates and that’s basically saying that they’re not human beings and they’re not allowed to do that and that’s not right.”

Kreglow would like to see some inmates with nonviolent and non-sex offense related crimes sent home for house arrest. “I’m concerned and they are people too, they’re people too. We all make mistakes,” she said.

Officials with the jail sent us the following information:

"To date, there have been 26 inmates that have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Bay County Jail. All of these cases were either asymptomatic or experienced mild to moderate symptoms. The current jail population is 1075 with approximately 35 people being booked into the jail and approximately 35 being released each day.

Although social distancing in the jail is difficult, all inmates are issued masks. They are encouraged to wear a mask while in their housing unit, but are required to wear a mask when they are outside of their unit. Employees are required to wear a mask anytime they enter a housing unit or when they are around inmates.

At this time, inmates having any symptoms that could be related to Covid 19 are being tested and isolated while pending testing results.

Most of the inmates are housed in open bay dorms. The dorms with individual cells are currently being used to isolate all new arrivals for 14 days and for isolating those who are pending test results.

The jail continues to screen all inmates entering the jail for Covid-19, as well as screen all employees daily upon arrival to work. This includes temperature checks and a series of questions.

Medical staff is closely monitoring the inmates who have tested positive while they are in isolation and they are watching the inmate population for any inmates who appear to be symptomatic or have requested to see medical.

There have been no Bay County Jail inmates requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19. There is one inmate who was hospitalized due to an unrelated medical complaint that was tested by the hospital. They tested positive but remain asymptomatic for COVID-19.

Inmates continue to receive two free phone calls a week to help them remain in contact with family members. These calls are made possible by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and Legacy, the company that provides the phone service for inmates at the Bay County Jail.”

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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