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More than 200 quarantined due to Monroe County Jail COVID-19 outbreak 

A COVID-19 outbreak in the Monroe County Jail has continued to grow, with cases doubling in a matter of days and quadrupling over the course of a week.

As of Friday morning, 33 inmates and 24 jail staff had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. That's up from Tuesday, when the sheriff's office said 15 inmates and 18 jail staff had tested positive for the coronavirus.

There are 173 inmates in quarantine within two housing units while 28 jail staff members are in self-quarantine. One inmate has been hospitalized and is in stable condition.
click to enlarge As of Friday morning, 33 inmates and 24 jail staff had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. That's up from Tuesday, when the sheriff's office said 15 inmates and 18 jail staff had tested positive for the coronavirus. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • As of Friday morning, 33 inmates and 24 jail staff had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. That's up from Tuesday, when the sheriff's office said 15 inmates and 18 jail staff had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The positivity rate in the jail on Friday was at about 4 percent, which is lower than the the county-wide seven day rolling average rate of 6.6 percent.

The nearly 700 inmates at the jail are now receiving daily temperature checks and are being screened for symptoms. While social visits are suspended, professional visits, like meetings with lawyers or parole officers, will continue with a no-contact policy. Inmates will now be able to make two free calls each week, up from one free call last week.

The sheriff’s office has also said that it is continuing intensive sanitation practices in the jail and that it has stopped moving inmates around the jail. Monroe County Sheriff's Office Capt. James McGowan said Tuesday that while officials do not know where the spread originated, the inmates who tested positive came from three different housing units.

“It got in here somehow and we’re doing the best we can right now to ride it out and to get this out in the next few weeks so that it’s over,” said McGowan.

click to enlarge Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza. - PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
  • PHOTO BY MAX SCHULTE
  • Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.
Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza has said that, in his opinion, the jail has some of the safest practices across the county. 

In a statement on Friday, Mendoza added that the county has been working closely with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office since the beginning of the pandemic to protect the health and safety of those inside the jail by taking extensive precautions.

“The jail has been able to prevent infection for many months. However, COVID-19 has demonstrated it will take advantage of even a slight opportunity to spread,” he said. “We hope that all public employees in Monroe County recognize the importance of mask wearing and social distancing, both in and out of the workplace, as we strive to beat this pandemic.”

Families can check on members inside the Monroe County Jail by calling (585) 753-4021.

Noelle E.C. Evans is a reporter for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.

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