Six Tests Come Back Positive as Thurston County Reports Outbreak at Jail

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Thurston County Public Health and Social Services staff are currently investigating a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak at the Thurston County Corrections Center, staff confirmed Thursday in a news release.

After having tested 300 employees and inmates Wednesday, the first round of tests returned six positive diagnoses, according to a news release. Those who were tested for the virus were immediately put into quarantine.

“We expect to have more results in the coming days and plan to retest all inmates and employees next week,” Public Health Director Schelli Slaughter said in a prepared statement.

The county on Thursday reported 16 cases of the virus in its daily updates.

Public Health investigators identified the first case at the jail as an inmate who was released from the facility on Monday, Aug. 17. The county says the person is currently isolating per the direction of public health officials.

The facility, located at 3491 Ferguson Street in Tumwater, can house roughly 395 inmates in its main facility.

“The facility will be closely monitored for the next 28 days. We are working collaboratively with the Sheriff’s Office to protect the health and safety of all staff and inmates, prevent further spread of COVID-19, and contain this outbreak as quickly as possible,” Slaughter said.

Health Officer Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek has also required, in addition to isolating inmates who tested positive for the virus, that all staff and inmates will be required to wear a mask at all times, maintain physical distance, and increase sanitation measures at the facility.

Mandatory temperature and symptom checks on employees and inmates have also been directed twice a day.

Staff at the Lewis County jail have also been fighting their own outbreak, which has resulted in 11 confirmed cases as of Wednesday evening. There are currently around 170 inmates at the Lewis County Jail.

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