Seventeen people incarcerated in the Douglas County jail have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an update from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.
In addition, seven staff members have tested positive, according to the update.
“The cases were identified as part of the Sheriff’s Office’s ongoing testing protocols in the correctional facility. Due to current protocols for isolating those incoming into custody and the higher-security units being occupied, the facility has limited space to isolate individuals,” the update stated. “Those currently in the minimum housing unit will isolate in place. Testing and medical care are provided to all those in custody.”
Sixteen of the residents who tested positive are in the minimum-security housing unit; one person is in a separate unit, the update stated. There were about 142 people total in custody of the jail as of Monday afternoon; about 8 of them were in Anderson County or elsewhere.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment listed several other correctional facilities statewide as cluster sites, meaning there were five or more COVID cases occurring within the past 14 days, in its Jan. 26 update. It showed 9,694 cases in corrections facilities statewide; almost 50 of those were in juvenile detention facilities.
The Douglas County jail will likely be added to that cluster list when the next update is released on Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
Meanwhile, countywide, the 14-day moving average number of new cases has come down a bit from recent record highs. After peaking at nearly 340 average new cases reported each day, the number was 226.5 on Monday, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health. That’s still nearly three times the pre-omicron-variant record of 82 new cases per day, however.
Also, “Given the number of over-the-counter tests (not to mention the ongoing challenges with access to testing), the actual number of cases in the community is likely higher than the stats indicate,” according to a community update from LMH Health on Monday.
There were still more than 5,000 known active cases in Douglas County Monday, according to LDCPH. Hospitalizations, too, have remained high. LMH had 24 COVID-positive inpatients, according to its update.