Two Jail Inmates, Four Sheriff’s Deputies Test Positive for COVID-19

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Michelle Phillips

MADISON–When inmates at the Dane County Jail began displaying fevers and other potential COVID-19 symptoms, eight were quarantined and tested and two have now tested positive for the virus. Two sheriff’s deputies have tested positive for the virus.  

On March 26, the eight subjects, all male were placed in segregation cells in the Public Safety building while they awaited test results. 

“Currently (two) inmates and (two) deputies confirmed with virus. Several others have been tested with some negative and others waiting results,” Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney said on March 30.

Both of the deputies with the virus work at the jail. The first tested positive on March 28 and the second on March 29. The men, ages 35 and 24, are quarantined to their homes. Other jail employees who may have come in contact with COVID-19 have also been tested and are being monitored for the virus.

On March 31, after the Times-Tribune interview with Mahoney, two more deputies tested positive for the virus. The men’s ages are 27 and 46.

“As first responders, our deputies are prepared every day to run into dangerous situations. What is different during this pandemic, is that the danger is oftentimes taken home to their families and loved ones. That is exactly what makes these men and women heroes,” said Sheriff Dave Mahoney. “We will strive every minute of this pandemic to protect our protectors, to ensure they are prepared to answer the call to service.”

Another nine inmates that were not displaying symptoms were also moved into quarantine. All had some point of contact with the virus. They are being housed away from the general population in a dormitory setting at the Public Safety building.

It appears the common thread, is both the deputies and inmates who have tested positive, were either housed or working on 6 West and 7 West of the City-County Building. The first inmate to test positive has been released from the jail. The second inmate to test positive remains in quarantine in a segregation cell of the jail. He is currently symptom free. At this time, no additional inmates are exhibiting symptoms.

Several areas of the jail, including the laundry, recreational area and kitchen, have been sanitized using the Skytron UV emitters. The two Skytron UV emitters are typically used to sanitize medical facilities and are currently on loan to the Dane County Jail.

“Robots are running almost 24 hours per day and are making areas treated safer.” Mahoney said. 

The department received the Skytron UV emitters on March 23, three days before the announcement of potential COVID-19 cases at the jail. Staff has been getting ongoing training on their use.

The jail is following all protocols and recommendations currently in place by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and PHMDC (Public Health of Madison and Dane County) in regard to COVID-19, Mahoney said. 

“We are working very close with public health and our jail medical team to quarantine and minimize the spread of CoVid19 within the jail,” Mahoney said.

The sheriff is working to identify any additional inmates that can be placed on GPS monitoring and be released to reduce the number of inmates at the jail. Priority will be given to older inmates, or those with underlying medical conditions.


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