File Photo (Lake County Jail) | Photo: Google Street View

Nearly 60 inmates and correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19 in a virus outbreak at the Lake County Jail, causing the Community Based Correction Center to temporarily close.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said three out of 19 inmates serving sentenced time in the Community Based Correction Center (CBCC) tested positive for COVID-19.

Following the guidance of health officials, sheriff’s officials temporarily closed the center.

Inmates at the CBCC will be tested prior to moving into the Lake County jail, Covelli said.

Those who test positive for the virus will be transferred to COVID-19 positive pods and those who test negative will move to COVID-19 negative pods.

On Monday, officials announced they were monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak at the jail.

Four inmates and three correctional officers tested positive for the virus over the weekend, Covelli said.

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As of Friday, a total of 48 inmates and 11 correctional officers tested positive for COVID-19.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people contracted the illness.

“Immediate additional mitigation protocols were initiated, in addition to the other mitigation protocols already in place,” Covelli said on Monday.

The new mitigations, which are utilized during outbreaks, consist of not allowing inmates to exit their assigned POD without the approval of jail command, cancelation of all inmate programming, inmates who are transported inside the facility are required to wear an N95 mask and inmates from different housing units are not allowed to come into contact with each other.

All inmates housed in the jail have been provided opportunities to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The jail population was 451 inmates as of Monday and over 280 doses of vaccine have been administered to inmates, Covelli said.

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The Lake County Jail is “collaborating closely” with the Lake County Health Department and follows their best-practice guidance for mitigation procedures.

Those include the following:

  • Enhanced medical screening for inmates and employees entering the jail
  • All newly remanded inmates are COVID-19 rapid tested upon entry into the jail
  • Inmates are then placed in a ten-day hold
  • After the ten-day hold, inmates are COVID-19 rapid tested again, before being moved to general population
  • All newly remanded inmates are provided an opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • All jail inmates are provided ongoing opportunities to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Increased cleanings of jail pods
  • Minimization of inmates moving from pod to pod
  • Established a medical segregation area for inmates with mild illness symptoms
  • Worked with Courts & criminal justice partners to establish electronic bond hearings, versus in-person hearings
  • Inmates who receive a recognizance bond at their initial hearing never enter the jail’s general population area
  • Utilizing PPEs for all jail staff
  • All inmates wear facemasks when outside of their cell for any reason
  • Utilize vacant housing pods to spread the distance between inmates
  • Inmates are required to eat in their cell, rather than a group setting
  • Inmates are allowed to have their cell doors open during socialization times, but congregated together in common areas are not allowed
  • Regular COVID-19 testing of jail inmates and jail employees
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Covelli said the Lake County Jail conducts regular COVID-19 tests on inmates, correctional employees and correctional contractors.

Thousands of COVID-19 tests have been conducted over the past year at the jail.

“The jail will continue aggressive mitigation efforts,” Covelli said.