The nightmare began on Friday the 13th this November for Woodward County Sheriff Kevin Mitchell.
“I was notified that one inmate in the Woodward County Jail was not feeling well and was showing some mild symptoms of the COVID-19 virus,” Mitchell said.
Taking the situation seriously and not waiting for conformation, Mitchell made sure both inmates in that housing cell were isolated and tested. The tests confirmed positive results for both.
“Once this was confirmed, all the inmates that are housed within the same pod and all the jail staff were tested for the COVID-19 virus,” Mitchell explained.
As of Thursday, six inmates and two members of the staff were confirmed or assumed positive for COVID-19. Eight additional inmates housed within the same pod have also been quarantined due to direct exposure, according to Mitchell.
“My medical staff are and have been extremely efficient throughout this entire ordeal,” Mitchell said. “We are taking every precaution that we can take and following our medical staff's guidance.”
The jail has essentially been on lock-down since the beginning of the pandemic. A mask mandate and screening procedures were initiated for staff when they report to work and any other persons entering the facility, according to Mitchell.
“It is my hope that we now have this outbreak isolated to prevent further spread, but only time will tell,” Mitchell said. “As we all have learned this virus does not react the same from one person to another. Where one person may become extremely ill, another may not even know they have it and for that reason it is impossible to know how this was introduced into the jail.”