Lake County Jail tests 600 inmates, employees -- three have COVID-19

  • Tests of about 600 people at the Lake County jail turned up three COVID-19 cases.

      Tests of about 600 people at the Lake County jail turned up three COVID-19 cases. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2013

Updated 9/5/2020 12:40 PM

Lake County jail officials tested about 600 inmates, employees and contractors as part of their largest COVID-19 screening effort to date, and three tested positive, officials announced Friday.

An inmate, a correctional officer and a contractual employee tested positive in screenings conducted last week, according to a news release. All were asymptomatic.


The inmate who tested positive is being held in the jail's 14-day quarantine pod.

Next week, the entire jail staff as well as 28 inmates who had close contact with the inmate who tested positive will be tested again. The 28 inmates have already been placed into quarantine.

The correctional officer and contractual employee are isolating at home.

Sheriff John Idleburg credited the low number to the jail's mitigation policy and hard work.

"It is an absolute priority of mine to keep our employees and jail inmates safe," Idleburg said. "We continue doing everything we can to keep COVID-19 out of our jail."

So far, a total of seven inmates, 10 correctional officers, one contractor and one correctional administrative assistant have tested positive since the pandemic hit.

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The sheriff's office collaborated with the county health department to develop a mitigation plan in the spring. Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister said identifying only three cases among 600 people demonstrates the plan's effectiveness.

"Our next step is increasing education efforts for staff and contractors at the jail to reinforce the message that even interactions with your most trusted friends, co-workers and family members can lead to COVID-19 infection," Pfister said.

The current jail population is about 530 inmates; the jail has the capacity for 740.

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