Washoe County jail inmate had a false positive for COVID-19

Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Washoe County Sheriff's Office(KOLO 8 News Now)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 10:22 AM PDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2020 at 3:57 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - SEPT. 24 UPDATE: A follow-up test shows that a Washoe County jail nmate who originally tested positive for COVID-19 does not have the infection, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The follow-up test showed no positive infection. Also, the inmate showed no symptoms of the disease.

ORIGINAL STORY: A prisoner at the Washoe County Detention Facility has tested positive for COVID-19, the sheriff’s office reported. It’s the first known case of COVID-19 among the jail inmates.

The inmate is a federal inmate who has been in the facility since February.

The sheriff’s office said the positive test came following testing before a medical procedure offsite. The inmate is asymptomatic and isolated.

“We have known for a long time that COVID-19 is an invisible enemy,” said Sheriff Darin Balaam. “The Sheriff’s Office has long-planned and expected that an inmate would test positive within our facility. We had procedures and plans in place for just this instance, and we immediately acted upon them. We will continue to work the plans and procedures we have in place because the health and safety of every member of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the inmates and the members of the public who conduct necessary business at our Office is my number one priority.”

The housing unit where the inmate had been housed was placed in quarantine. Inmates in that housing unit were issued masks, and the positive inmate was moved to a negative pressured cell in the Infirmary.

Staff members who were in contact with the inmate have been tested, and contact tracing is being conducted, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said among the steps taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus within the Detention Facility, is isolating newly arrested inmates for a period of five days and testing those inmates for COVID-19 before placing them in general population housing units.

Since the beginning of March, there have been six inmates who were identified upon arrest through the intake/booking process as being COVID-19 positive. Those inmates were immediately isolated.

The sheriff’s office said it is working with the Washoe County Health District.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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