Inmate of county jail tested positive for COVID-19 this week
Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Earlier this week, an inmate being held at the Pearl River County jail for drug offenses was determined to have COVID-19.
Sheriff David Allison said that an inmate at the jail, who was originally arrested on May 11, was determined to have the virus earlier this week.
Mark Stockstill, Owner of Health Corr LLC., said the inmate came to Stockstill’s medical staff at the jail on Sunday complaining of a rash that was suspected to be due to a staph infection. As a result, the inmate was placed into an isolation cell but sometime during the night the inmate began to complain of more severe symptoms that resulted in the inmate being taken to the hospital. While at the hospital, the inmate was tested for COVID-19, which confirmed he had the virus. However, Stockstill said the inmate was not exhibiting typical symptoms of COVID-19 such as a high fever, cough, nausea or a change in the man’s sense of smell.
To protect the rest of the inmates, Allison said the county prosecutor was called and asked to amend the inmate’s bond so he could be released on his own recognizance, especially since he was being held on a non-violent offense. That request was granted and the detail initially posted to watch over the inmate at the hospital was pulled, Allison said. The man is expected to show up for his court date to face those charges.
Stockstill said the man, who is said to be in his late 20s, is currently doing well.
The Mississippi State Department of Health was notified of the incident on Monday, and has indicated to Stockstill that a date will be established for testing of the inmates who may have come into contact with the man who tested positive. When that date is established, staff from the health department will bring tests to test the inmates being kept in the zone where the inmate in question was being kept. However, no other inmates are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, Stockstill said.
The man in question was being kept in a special zone established back in March to ensure that all new inmates coming into the jail are separated from the rest of the jail population. To his recollection, Stockstill said there are about 27 inmates being kept in that zone.
This is the first confirmed case of the virus in the county jail. Stockstill attributes that to the protocols staff have been utilizing, such as ensuring all inmates booked into the jail since March have undergone a temperature check, must answer a series of questions to determine their risk of contracting COVID-19 and are held in an isolated zone from the rest of the jail population.
“We live under this concern everyday. The only thing we can do is our best to mitigate anyone coming in that is sick,” Stockstill said.