20 positive for COVID-19 after all Durham County jail inmates tested


This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. (C.S. Goldsmith / A. Tamin / CDC / AP)

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – An additional dozen cases of COVID-19 were identified after inmates at the Durham County Detention Center were tested following a smaller outbreak, a news release said Wednesday.

All inmates and staff were tested after recent testing yielded eight positives. The 12 new positives brought the total to 20 inmates confirmed to have COVID-19. All but one of the inmates who were positive for the virus were housed in a single area of the detention center, officials said.

One positive was discovered in a detainee who was in intake quarantine. It is not associated with any other cases, the release said.

Per protocol, the inmates are in isolation until they are cleared by medical staff.

“The facility is undergoing additional cleaning and we will continue to monitor all detainees,” said Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead. “While I am relieved the coronavirus has not spread throughout the entire facility, I want to emphasize one case is still too many. I am impressing upon staff that we must continue being vigilant in order to protect the health of inmates and themselves.”

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