OGDEN — A Weber County Jail inmate tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and has been placed in isolation under the care of the medical staff, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
It is the first reported case of the coronavirus in the Weber jail since precautions to limit COVID-19’s spread began in March.
The infected inmate is being cared for by the staff of Vital Core, the jail’s new medical contractor, according to the release.
“We will be working with the Weber-Morgan Health Department to perform additional tests for both staff and inmates,” the release said.
The jail will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on management of the coronavirus in correctional facilities, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Steps include requiring sheriff’s staff and visitors to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entry. All jail visitors also are asked to wear masks.
Lt. Joshua Marigoni, Sheriff’s Office corrections spokesperson, said in previous coverage that quarantine areas were set up in the jail where any inmates who became infected could be isolated.
Efforts to contact Marigoni were not immediately successful Monday.
The Davis County Jail in Farmington has had no inmate coronavirus cases, spokesperson Liz Sollis said.
The only reported case was a corrections employee who tested positive in late March and was sent home to self-quarantine.
The Box Elder County Jail has had no COVID-19 cases, jail commander Ralph Bennett said.
But it would not be a surprise to begin seeing occasional coronavirus infections in jails, with stricter overall state guidelines being eased recently, Sollis said.
“With more people going out and about, we will see it in all populations,” she said.
The Utah Supreme Court in May rejected a petition that pushed for accelerated inmate releases from the state’s county jails and prisons due to COVID-19 infection risks in the close quarters of incarceration.
Civil liberties groups had warned about the risks, demanding quick state action, but the high court said their petition did not meet procedural requirements.
The civil liberties groups did, however, praise efforts that many jails and state prisons had made to limit the spread.