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Deputies test positive for COVID-19: Boggs says jail following procedures to keep inmates safe

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 Carter County Health Department director Jeff Barker updated the county’s COVID-19 numbers last Thursday to include two new cases, bringing the county’s total number of infected at that time to 33. Of those 22 had already recovered, 10 were isolating at home, and only one was hospitalized – though by July 4 those numbers had been adjusted to 22 recovered and 11 still isolating at home as the single hospitalized individual had been released to recover at home. 

On Sunday another seven cases were added to those numbers, the largest single day jump in Carter County since testing began, Barker said. An eighth was added on Monday. This brought the total number of positive cases in the county to 41, with 22 recovered and 19 still isolating in place. 

Although Barker and the health department do not release the names of those infected, in compliance with HIPAA regulations, Carter County Jailer R.W. Boggs confirmed that two of the recent cases were deputy jailers. Those two deputies were diagnosed separately. Another seven were from one of the female units within the Carter County Jail. Boggs said all nine inmates still held in that unit had been tested, and the two who tested negative were moved out and isolated. The other seven who tested positive were still isolating in place and nearing the end of their fourteenth day since exposure on Monday, he said, and all had exhibited very mild symptoms. Nevertheless, they were quarantined and would remain so until it was deemed safe to resume contact with other inmates. He also said the jail was continuing to take recommended precautions to keep staff and inmates safe. 

“We’re testing more inmates and deputies (and) still following state guidelines,” Boggs said. “The worst part about it is what gets it inside a jail is non-symptomatic individuals.” 

Boggs said they still weren’t allowing visitors to enter the jail as part of their efforts to prevent further outbreak among inmates. In addition to that, all deputies and other jail staff are required to wear masks. He said other efforts to keep the jail coronavirus free included temperature checks and “constant cleaning.” 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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