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First Hillsborough County jail inmate tests positive for coronavirus

The inmate was immediately quarantined, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and didn’t make come into contact with other inmates.
Walkway. Interior photos of Blackwater River Correctional Facility. 
photo credit: Florida Department of Corrections
Walkway. Interior photos of Blackwater River Correctional Facility. photo credit: Florida Department of Corrections [ Florida Department of Corrections ]
Published Apr. 23, 2020

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County jail inmate has tested positive for COVID-19, deputies said.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says the Orient Road Jail inmate is an adult male, but did not release his name.

The inmate was arrested Wednesday by Tampa police but the charges and details of that case were not disclosed. He was taken to the Orient Road Jail, where detention deputies questioned him. The man said he had been in contact with someone who had contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus that can lead to severe respiratory infections. He also had a low fever. He was immediately tested for the virus.

The test came back positive on Thursday, deputies said. The inmate was transferred to the Falkenburg Road Jail and placed in isolation. He is medically stable and asymptomatic as of Thursday afternoon, the agency said. He will remain in isolation for the near future.

The man did not come into contact with any other inmates, deputies said. A protocol was set up at the county jails to screen all inmates upon arrival and asks them questions about their travel history, medical condition and if they had been in contact with anyone who tested positive for the virus.

“We have taken every precaution possible to protect our detention staff since they first came in contact with this individual," Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Every deputy and civilian staff member who has interacted with this inmate has worn personal protective equipment.”

The Sheriff’s Office let the arresting agency, the Tampa Police Department, know that the man tested positive so that those officers could take precautions. Chronister said this is the first known case among Hillsborough County inmates.

“We will continue to take every measure necessary to keep not only our staff members but the inmate population as healthy and safe,” the sheriff said.

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