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Dozens test positive for COVID-19 at Pierce County Jail

August 24, 2021 GMT

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Up to 35 inmates at the Pierce County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19.

The News Tribune reports over the last few days inmates reported feeling ill and were tested at the jail’s health clinic. By Sunday, 25 to 35 COVID tests came back positive. More tests are pending.

Following a protocol developed last year, jail officials immediately put roughly 180 inmates in quarantine. That’s about one third of the jail’s population, which numbered 548 Sunday.

“We follow isolation and quarantine protocols as advised by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to stem the spread among the individuals in our care,” Sheriff Ed Troyer said.

The outbreak means the jail will only allow people arrested on suspicion of violent crimes to be booked. That includes murder, manslaughter, first-degree assault, rape, child molestation, kidnapping, child assault, domestic violence and possessing explosive devices.

Whatcom County Jail officials in Bellingham said last week that 10 corrections deputies and one person in custody had contracted the virus. None of those infected appeared to have serious symptoms, according to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Deb Slater.