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COVID Outbreak at McCracken County Jail
By Tim Brockwell
PADUCAH - McCracken County Jailer David Knight says the jail is experiencing its second COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began.

Knight told West Kentucky Star 21 inmates at the jail have tested positive for the virus as of Thursday afternoon. He said all of the infected inmates are women, and are in the same cell block.

"They've all been quarantined, and anybody who's been exposed to them is quarantined. Nobody will be going in or out of those cells until the 14 days is up." Knight said.

Knight said all of the inmates who have tested positive are being monitored around the clock. He said so far none of the women have exhibited anything more than mild symptoms. 

This is the second outbreak of COVID-19 at the jail. In December about 47-49 people at the facility, including several employees, came down with the virus. Knight said this time infections have been limited to the inmate population. 

Knight commended his staff for limiting virus cases at the jail, citing the number of cases compared to the total inmate population since the start of the pandemic. 

"We've booked in roughly 6000 people since this pandemic started, and for us to be at 69-70 over two different outbreaks, to me that's pretty impressive that we've kept it out that long," Knight said. "Once it gets in here, even keeping it contained within the building, I think my people are doing a great job. For us all to be under the same roof I think we're doing a pretty great job of keeping it under control."

Knight said right now jail staff are collecting names of inmates who want to be vaccinated, and that process could start as early as next week.

"We're gathering a list of what inmates want [the vaccine] now. Of course, I can't make them take them, but we're offering them," Knight said, adding that about 200 of the jail's 480 current inmates have expressed interest in getting the shot. 

Knight credited the jail's rigorous testing, cleaning and quarantine policies for helping keep case numbers low at the facility.

"Before they ever come into the jail [the inmates] are screened for temperature and given a questionnaire. Once they come in they're quarantined for at least 14 days before they move to general population," Knight said. "They're given two masks, and our people are required to wear masks. We have tons of cleaning supplies, and clean continuously. We go through probably 55 gallons of COVID cleaner a week. We have tests on hand, and anyone who wants a test for any reason can get one any time."

Published 03:35 PM, Thursday Apr. 08, 2021
Updated 01:41 PM, Friday Apr. 09, 2021

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