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21 deputies test positive for coronavirus at Ohio jail

Local news outlets report that 27 inmates also are in isolation after testing positive

hamilton county sheriff's office ohio.PNG

Photo/Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

By Cliff Pinckard

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Twenty-one deputies at a jail in southwest Ohio have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to reports.

Dave Daugherty, a spokesman with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, tells the Cincinnati Enquirer that all of the deputies are at home and in quarantine. The deputies work with closely with inmates at the Hamilton County Justice Center. WLWT Channel 5 reports that 27 inmates also are in isolation after testing positive.

Hamilton County is dealing with a surge in the coronavirus that threatens to push the county into the “purple” level on Ohio’s health advisory map, which is the most severe level, WVXU reports. On Wednesday, the state reported a record 2,366 new cases overall.

Daugherty tells the Enquirer that officials are unsure how the employees were exposed but say it mostly likely was from inside the jail.

“It’s just a constant battle inside the facility. It’s a confined area, but we’re doing the best we can to keep everyone safe,” Daugherty tells WLWT. “We practice sanitation. We practice safe distancing from each other, zoom meetings, everything we can do, but we have to operate. We can’t close down.”

(c)2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland