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Lewis & Clark County authorities report more COVID-19 cases at jail

Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 19:53:56-04

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton confirmed additional COVID-19 cases among inmates in the county detention center.

The latest cases bring the total to four inmates who have tested positive. All the inmates in the two residential pods where cases have been found are being quarantined through the end of next week. Dutton said they are being kept together because they have already had contact with the people who tested positive.

Dutton said his office is working with local judges, attorneys and Lewis and Clark Public Health to determine how to handle these inmates’ court appearances.

In addition, seven detention center employees have tested positive, out of about 50 who were checked. Dutton said, because those employees have not been able to return to work, they have had to adjust their staffing. He said they took one staff member off of each regular shift.

“We’re absorbing it – not easily, but we’re absorbing it, we’re making it work,” he said. “Hats off to the detention staff for stepping up and doing this.”

The sheriff’s office has also secured locations outside the jail that could be used to isolate inmates who tested positive. Dutton said they have not had to use those yet.