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Months into pandemic, 0 cases of COVID-19 among El Paso County Jail inmates thanks to protective measures

Jail measures

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It appears Colorado’s largest outbreak of the novel coronavirus is at the Sterling Correctional Facility, but a local jail in Colorado Springs is seeing success in limiting the virus' spread.

As of Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) spokesperson said confirmed cases at Sterling grew to 238.

In El Paso County, Jacqueline Kirby, the spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office says there have been nine employees of Sheriff's Office to test positive for COVID-19, but there are still zero cases of inmates testing positive. The sheriff's office confirmed tests had been conducted among inmates.

"We are the largest jail in the state of Colorado outside of the department of corrections so to say to date we have had no inmates test positive for COVID, we are doing something right," Kirby said.

Kirby also says it's partly because the department has been taking measures to protect both inmates and deputies since late March.

"We are screening our employees when they come in, not just the facility. Not just inmates. We need to make sure that our workforce is healthy and that our workforce isn't infecting others," she said.

In April, Deputy Jeff Hopkins with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office died from complications due to COVID-19.

His most recent position put him in contact with dozens of people, including inmates, every day. So Kirby says any employee who tests positive is asked to quarantine and isolate themselves.

But inmates are also somewhat in isolation.

"We have had to limit the movement of inmates which means reduced time out of their cell, we have eliminated video visitations and have had to do online visitation," Kirby said.

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Alexis Dominguez

Alexis is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo Surco. Learn more about Alexis here.

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