Nearly 700 El Paso County inmates test positive for coronavirus in state’s largest outbreak

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Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 8:39 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A massive coronavirus outbreak has swept through the El Paso County Jail, infecting more than half of the inmates housed in the facility.

The county sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday that nearly 700 inmates had tested positive for the virus in recent days, along with 51 sheriff’s employees. The outbreak started Oct. 27 with eight inmates and two employees testing positive, with more cases rapidly added in the following days as the sheriff’s office began an aggressive COVID-19 testing schedule.

With 1,231 inmates housed in the jail as of Tuesday and 693 inmates positive, roughly 56 percent of all inmates are infected with the coronavirus.

“Recognizing that this is an at-risk population considering the density of people living within close quarters, this testing strategy aims to quickly identify and further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the El Paso County Jail. Test results are used to implement appropriate isolation and cohort recommendations quickly,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office has also put restrictive housing measures in place.

To date, no inmates or employees have been hospitalized. They’ve displayed a variety of symptoms, and some have reportedly been asymptomatic.

This is the largest outbreak the state has seen since the pandemic exploded in March.

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