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A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at the St. Clair County Jail in Ashville. One correctional officer and 37 inmates have tested positive for the virus, according to a statement made on the jail’s Facebook page by Sheriff Billy Murray.

There are currently 160 inmates. All of the inmates who have tested positive for the virus are currently being observed and treated in quarantine.

The St. Clair County Health Department has worked with the jail to get all inmates tested for COVID-19 following this outbreak. The two teams are also making sure every new inmate is also being tested as part of their intake process.

“The St. Clair County Jail in Ashville is implementing all COVID 19 safety protocols as has been followed since the initial outbreak of the pandemic,” said Murray.

Murray also shared that each day the inmates are given new masks and are advised to wear them. In addition, the jail is also being professionally deep cleaned by a cleaning company.

“We don’t have the luxury of not having people in close proximity, so we are doing the best we can,” said Murray.

In May and early June the National Guard and the Alabama Department of Health offered vaccines to inmates. However, the inmates were not forced to receive the vaccination. According to Murray, “some took it and some didn’t.”

The county is hoping to have another round of vaccines for inmates soon.

According to Dr. Karen Landers from the Alabama Department of Public Health it has been an easy process to determine who has been exposed to the virus. The staff and nurses supervise closely to know who has been within six feet of each other.

Landers also shared that she believes the Alabama Department of Public Health and the St. Clair County jail are both taking all the right steps to ensure the safety of the inmates.

“They acted very quickly and certainly in the best interest of the people in the congregate setting and the staff members,” said Dr. Landers.

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