Yellowstone County jail to boost cleaning, testing after inmate contracts COVID-19

Posted at 3:45 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 10:11:53-04

The Yellowstone County jail is launching enhanced cleaning, contact tracing and COVID-19 testing after an inmate tested positive Tuesday, Sheriff Mike Linder said Wednesday.

The female inmate, who is in her 30s, likely contracted the disease in the jail and reported medical problems on May 21, Linder said in a news release. She was placed in isolation, then transported to a local hospital May 22 for treatment, Linder said.

The woman has not been back to the jail, Linder said.

Before her test, about 28 inmates had been tested with no other positive results, and Linder said he's unaware of any additional tests. All inmates who shared the unit with the woman, and staff who worked there, will be tested starting Friday, he siad.

More cases could arise, and the jail staff are acting as though others could be infected, Linder said.

Jail staff are working with RiverStone Health on additional cleaning and sanitizing, testing and quarantining and mask protocols for inmates and staff, Linder said.

About 420 inmates are currently incarcerated in the detention center, Linder said. Since the outbreak began, the county has been releasing some non-violent offenders to reduce the population.

In March, a Yellowstone County jailer tested positive for COVID-19 and later recovered. Linder said then that the worker likely contracted the disease while traveling and had little to no contact with other guards or inmates.