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Missoula County Detention Facility inmate tests positive for COVID-19

Posted at 1:48 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 20:13:36-04

MISSOULA — A recent inmate booked into the Missoula County Detention Facility has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office announced the news on Wednesday.

To ensure the health information of the individual remains protected, the date the individual was booked into the detention facility will not be provided, according to the facility. The detention facility is working closely with the Missoula City-County Health Department through this process.

Using required personal protective equipment, detention officers began the initial screening of the inmate when they arrived at the facility. During screening the inmate indicated close contact with a positive COVID-19 person. The information provided by the inmate prompted jail staff to initiate pre-established operating guidelines, and quarantine the inmate in an isolation area designated for this purpose, and the individual was tested that same day.

The close contact was confirmed by the detention facility medical team. Detention officers and nursing staff, utilizing personal protective equipment and following CDC guidelines, met requirements for inmate contact. The inmate remained isolated and had no contact with other inmates while in the facility.

Spokesperson for the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Jeannette Smith told MTN News that screening the inmate upon arrival prevented what could have turned into a much larger problem for the facility.

“It was vital because that gave us the information to put that individual in isolation, in quarantine and not have any other contact with any other inmates in the facility, thus keeping the public, our staff, and other inmates safe,” said Smith.

The inmate was released by the court and is currently under a health order to quarantine for 14 days.

Missoula County Detention Facility is working closely with the Missoula City-County Health Department to evaluate additional measures, if needed, to ensure the health and safety of detention and nursing staff.

-MTN's Megan Mannering contributed to this report.