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23 inmates, 5 staff at Kootenai County Jail test positive for COVID-19

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 10, 2020

There are 28 cases of COVID-19 among inmates and staff at the Kootenai County Jail. In this photo from 2013, inmates sit in a common area at the jail .  (TYLER TJOMSLAND/Spokesman-Review)
There are 28 cases of COVID-19 among inmates and staff at the Kootenai County Jail. In this photo from 2013, inmates sit in a common area at the jail . (TYLER TJOMSLAND/Spokesman-Review)

Twenty-eight inmates and staff at the Kootenai County Jail in Coeur d’Alene have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the press release from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, the jail’s first positive case was confirmed via testing Wednesday. Three more positive results were confirmed Friday. On Monday morning, 23 more cases were confirmed.

Five of the infected are staff and 23 are inmates, the release said.

The jail has 358 inmates. Most inmates and staff who tested positive are asymptomatic. None have been hospitalized and no severe cases have been reported, the release said. All inmates with the virus are in quarantine.

Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Higgins said Monday he was unsure whether these cases were the first associated with the county jail, but said the quick jump from only a few cases to 28 was “a huge matter of concern.”

Medical staff at the jail are now conducting phased testing of inmates and staff based on exposure and symptoms, the release said.

Higgins said testing would be starting with those showing symptoms or in close contact with infected inmates, but expected the whole facility would be tested soon.

All jail staff are required to wear face coverings and personal protective equipment, and visitors to the facility must wear masks per Kootenai County’s mandate, Higgins said. However, inmates are not required to wear face coverings.

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