18 inmates test positive for coronavirus at Mecklenburg jail

18 inmates test positive for coronavirus at Mecklenburg jail
At least 18 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus at Mecklenburg County Detention Center. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - At least 18 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus at Mecklenburg County Detention Center.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office sent a press release Wednesday, saying it is experiencing an increase of COVID-19 cases at the jail despite efforts to mitigate and control the spread.

There are currently 18 residents that have tested positive for COVID 19 and all those cases have been confined to a single floor within the detention center.

This most recent coronavirus spread appears to be contained to the sixth floor of Detention Center Central and all those infected are effectively isolated and are being monitored by healthcare personnel, officials say.

MCSO says they have anticipated and prepared for the rise in the number of positive cases in the short term of the resident population.

Like nursing homes, detention centers are considered congregant settings, which are among the most susceptible to rapid COVID 19 spread if the virus makes its way into a facility.

At this point, officials say the vast majority of those infected are asymptomatic; of those that are showing symptoms they are very mild and are being well cared for by healthcare professionals.

MCSO in consultation with their contracted healthcare provider (Wellpath) and Mecklenburg County Public Health continue to work through the challenges posed in the high risk environment of a detention center.

MCSO operates the largest municipal detention center in the state with a population of approximately 1,455 residents. MCSO officials say they are challenged with dealing with residents that aren’t accurately reporting their symptoms in order to avoid extended quarantine/isolation.

“There are approximately 45-60 admissions into the detention center everyday which further compounds the risk of exposure and spread of the virus. Transfers from other detention facilities that may not have the same standard of care also pose additional challenges in our fight against the virus. Thus far we have not experienced any hospitalizations or deaths related to COVID 19 at the MCDC,” the press release read.

MCSO has also tracked the impacts of the coronavirus on personnel and since early March there have been 45 detention officers at the MCDC that have tested positive for COVID 19.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.