El Paso County deputy tests positive for COVID-19

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - An El Paso County deputy has tested positive for COVID-19, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office announced Sunday.

According to the sheriff's office, the deputy has been isolated for nearly a week, and all employees who had contact with him are taking the necessary precautions.

The deputy is recovering, EPSO said.

The sheriff's office had been preparing for the strong likelihood of one or more of their staff falling ill.

"Staff has had plans and structures in place for some time and have continued to take steps to prevent further spread to other employees and inmates that we house in the jail," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Deputies have continued responding to calls during the virus outbreak, with a few modifications, a spokesperson for EPSO told 11 News in an interview last week.

"We will respond to priority one and two calls. There are other calls for service that a deputy will make contact with, prior to going to the home, by phone. That will be impacted, but very minimally. We are not going to stop responding, we are just going to have a second layer if you will on some calls where a deputy will call the reporting party and speak with them over the phone.”," Jacqueline Kirby said.

The sheriff's office has closed their lobby at the downtown office to the public and is only keeping the lobby to the jail open for bonding and use of the kiosk. Video visitation at the jail is closed, so those wanting to see an incarcerated friend or relative are encouraged to use this site.

"Running the largest jail in the state aside from the Department of Corrections, it definitely brings its challenges, so we are in the process now of identifying those different areas that we need to make changes that we feel are appropriate still keeping in mind the safety of our community, of our inmates and then the safety of our staff," Kirby said. "... We had the Hep-A outbreak back in March of last year, and it spread through the facility like wildfire."