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Jailer: Steps underway to mitigate COVID-19 outbreak at the Nelson County Jail

NC GAZETTE / WBRT RADIO
STAFF REPORT

Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 — Nelson County Jailer Buck Newton issued a press release Wednesday about the steps the jail is taking in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak at the jail.

NC JAILER BUCK SNELLEN

From tests administered last Saturday, the jail had 45 positive test results, which included 35 inmates and 10 jail staffers.

Since the test results, the jail has taken steps to mitigate the virus, including:

  • screeningt of all contractors and outside vendors prior to allowing them into the jail;
  • daily monitoring of staff for COVID-19 signs and symptoms;
  • staff are required to stay home or are sent home if they become ill;
  • new inmates are screened before entering the jaill;
  • inmates and staff are provided with face coverings;
  • inmates are restricted to their cells;

“We will continue to take aggressive actions to prevent further spread within our facility, including staying in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps,” Snellen said through the press release. “We want to stress that ALL inmates are being monitored closely.”

Families of inmates with concerns should contact the jail about those concerns. Due to HIPPA regulations, the jail cannot release medical information about individual inmates, but the jail will do what can be done to address family members’ concerns.

At Tuesday’s Nelson Fiscal Court meeting, Snellen told the court that LaRue County Jailer Jamie Underwood had agreed to house new Nelson County inmates if needed.

According to Joe Prewitt, the county’s emergency services director, the jail staff and inmates will be tested again next Tuesday.

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