Yakima County Jail suffers 50+ COVID-19 cases amidst outbreak
YAKIMA, Wash. — A COVID-19 outbreak in the Yakima County Jail has left a total of 51 people sick including 47 inmates and four staff members.
According to the Yakima Health District, public health leaders were informed of the outbreak on November 19, 2021. They launched an investigation to identify all close contacts with infected individuals, including inmates and staff members, before conducting extra testing.
Health leaders offered the following guidelines and recommendations for the Yakima County Jail:
- Co-hort individuals that have tested positive and are currently in isolation
- Co-hort individuals who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Test inmates regularly
- Continuously monitor staff and inmates for symptoms of COVID-19
- Increase testing for staff
Dr. Neil Barg, the YHD’s Health Officer, believes that outbreaks in congregate settings like the Yakima County Jail are preventable so long as community members do their due diligence.
“COVID-19 outbreaks are preventable, and we must continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We need to decrease the chance of introducing the virus in places where large numbers of people are in a small space, such as jails and long-term care facilities,” Dr. Barg said. “Public health recommendations, such as getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and social distancing are crucial to remain safe. We encourage community members to take advantage of the vaccine opportunities in our county.”
There have been several outbreaks at the Yakima County Jail since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The virus spreads more rapidly in congregate settings like a jail where people are in close contact with each other for prolonged periods at a time.
Just this August, the jail suffered an outbreak that saw at least 20 inmates test positive for COVID-19.
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