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Ocala

Lake County Jail continues to battle COVID-19 with 148 cases now reported

The Coronavirus continues to sweep through the Lake County Jail, with 148 cases being reported Monday.

Of those, 127 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, while 21 jail employees also have been identified with the potentially deadly virus. Of those, six deputies assigned to the jail are being treated in area hospitals.

A total of 148 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been identified at the Lake County Jail among 127 inmates and 21 jail employees.

Last week, the sheriff’s office announced that Master Dep. Lynn Jones had died after testing positive for COVID-19 on June 13. He had been in been in isolation at his home in Orange County since testing positive and would have celebrated his 13th anniversary with the agency on June 25.

The sheriff’s office on June 12 reported having 57 patients at the jail, which amounted to 7.5 percent of the 759 inmates at the Tavares facility. Those patients had been identified since testing started on June 4 after two female prisoners showed symptoms. Testing also followed for male inmates who were assigned to work crews after they began showing symptoms, according to Lt. John Herrell.

Lake County sheriff’s Master Dep. Lynn Jones, who worked at the jail, contracted the COVID-19 virus on June 13 and died last week.

By June 17, the number of COVID-19 cases at the jailed had climbed to 100. Those were identified as 85 inmates, six employees and nine patients whose identifies hadn’t been confirmed. That overall number jumped again to 119 at the beginning of last week.

Herrell said the jail staff is continuing to screen all new incoming inmates and will place anyone who becomes symptomatic into isolation and test them. He added that the facility has had robust procedures in place since March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some of those measures have included:

  • All new arrests being quarantined for a period of 14 days before going into general population. This comes with a robust screening process at the time of intake;
  • No transporting of inmates to or from other facilities and only accepting new arrests;
  • Inmate visitations suspended;
  • Nurses stationed in the sally port where inmates are brought in, and at the front lobby where all employees must now enter;
  • Arresting officer and person in custody tested at point of entry; and
  • All volunteers sent home and jail programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Good News Jail Ministries suspended.

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