Dougherty Co. Jail takes new steps after rise in COVID-19 cases

Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 6:52 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - After an uptick in COVID-19 cases post-Thanksgiving, Dougherty County Jail staff said they’re doing their part to prevent more cases this Christmas.

“We have remained a COVID-free facility until this week. We did have a small outbreak of COVID-19 in our general population. We have had, now, seven inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19, all in the same housing area,” said John Ostrander, chief jailer for the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office.

Dr. Charles Ruis, Southwest Health District director, said he’s been working with the jail to keep the outbreak under control.

“Our epidemiologist has been involved in the case to investigate and to advise, and those individuals that have been involved have been segregated as much as possible to protect those who have not yet been infected,” said Ruis.

The jail released this statement after the rise in COVID cases.
The jail released this statement after the rise in COVID cases.(Dougherty County Government)

Ostrander said staff most likely brought in the virus.

“Our assumption is that it was probably that Thanksgiving surge. And it was probably a staff person that brought it into the facility. That’s the most likely scenario,” said Ostrander.

The jail is taking a few new precautions ahead of Christmas.

“Now that we have identified that there is infection in that area, we have increased their masks to the N-95 with the face shield. And the inmates are masked. And so, we have stepped up cautious in those areas, slightly,” said Ostrander.

Ruis said the COVID-19 vaccine could be another tool to prevent the cases from coming back.

“So, whether it might be a county facility, state, or federal prison, those folks are going to be very high on the priority list for getting vaccinated,” said Ruis.

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