Thirteen more inmates at the Cumberland County jail have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), county officials announced. All of the inmates had close contact with another inmate with a positive test announced May 11.

There are now a total of 443 confirmed positive cases in the county.

From Cumberland County:

The Department of Public Health reports there are 443 total positive COVID-19 cases involving Cumberland County residents, an increase of 18 since Wednesday. To date, 11 residents have died from complications associated with the coronavirus.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was notified today of 13 additional inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19. These inmates were tested after being identified as a close contact of an inmate who tested positive, which was reported on May 11.  All 13 inmates were immediately quarantined on May 11 after being identified. They will remain in isolation until their quarantine period is over, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, no additional staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection with the positive inmate.

A total of five staff members have tested positive during the current outbreak. To comply with medical privacy laws, no additional information about the inmates or employees will be released. No additional employees, inmates, or members of the public have been identified as close contacts of the diagnosed inmates. The Sheriff’s Office will monitor employees and inmates and refer individuals with symptoms for testing.

As recommended by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and Cumberland County Health Department, the Sheriff’s Office continues to implement the following measures to prevent further spread:

  • All newly arrived inmates are placed in quarantine until 14 days have passed since their arrival. Any inmates with fever or other COVID-19 symptoms are immediately placed in medical isolation and assessed.
  • Visitation has been suspended.
  • Screening upon entry into the facility including temperature checks. Staff are actively encouraged to stay home when they are sick.
  • Encourage social distancing during group activities and in pods
  • Eliminating congregate dining for staff and detainees
  • All staff are in face coverings
  • Signs are posted about hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and social distancing
  • Staff and detainees are wearing PPE, appropriate to the task being completed, as available. Requesting PPE as needed
  • All staff in contact with detained positive cases in appropriate equipment
  • Soap is free and accessible to detainees
  • Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently touched several times a day. Using a disinfectant that is EPA registered as active against coronaviruses. This may include objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, sink handles, countertops, toilets, toilet handles, recreation equipment, kiosks, and telephones).
  • Cleaning and disinfecting areas visited by cases.

In a congregate living setting, an outbreak is defined as two or more cases. NCDHHS has listed the Cumberland County Detention Center on its report of outbreaks in congregate living settings. This report is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays by NC DHHS.

Cloth Masks for Farmers

The State Emergency Management Division and Cumberland County Emergency Management have notified Cumberland County Cooperative Extension that cloth face masks are available for farmers. These masks are not classified as personal protective equipment (PPE), but they will help reduce person-to-person spread.

Farmers may contact Cooperative Extension Director Lisa Childers at 910-321-6880 or for more information.

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Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.