COVID-19 outbreak hits Meck. County Detention Center; 43 inmates test positive

Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 11:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - More than 40 inmates at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center have been tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office says that of the 43 who have tested positive, some have shown mild symptoms, while others have shown no symptoms.

The jail has about 1,350 inmates, and admit about 45 each day, according to county deputies.

“MCSO is also challenged with dealing with residents that aren’t accurately reporting their symptoms in order to avoid extended quarantine/isolation,” a spokesperson said.

Mecklenburg County deputies say they have not had any hospitalizations or deaths related to COVID-19 at the detention center.

“The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center (MCDC) despite efforts to mitigate and control the spread of the coronavirus in the detention center,” a spokesperson said.

Deputies say they have implemented protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the detention center.

There were no confirmed cases at the jail until June 10.

Officials say the first confirmed case in the detention center was an out of state transfer that came to the facility and was exhibiting symptoms, and by protocol the resident was medically isolated and tested.

Officials say that everyone coming into the detention center are screened for symptoms, issued a face covering and placed in a quarantine/isolation housing unit for 14 days where they are monitored for symptoms.

MCSO operates fully accredited detention centers and takes the care of our resident population very seriously. Sheriff McFadden says;

“I care deeply for the residents housed in our detention center and the personnel and service providers that work in this high risk environment,” Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said. “Since the start of this pandemic, we have worked hard and aggressively in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic even before the rapid spread of the virus in Mecklenburg County. I want to ensure that we keep our detention centers safe and provide the best possible care for our residents. Considering new research showing that many people carrying the coronavirus experience few or no symptoms, I think it’s prudent that we continue to expand the testing of our resident population as a proactive approach in our response to this pandemic.”

MCSO anticipates that with expanded testing there will be a continued rise in the number of positive cases in the short term of our resident population.

Since early March, there have been nine detention officers at the detention center that tested positive for COVID-19.

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