COLORADO SPRINGS — El Paso County Sheriff’s Office released a statement in regards to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 at the El Paso County Jail.
As of November 3, 693 inmates have positive COVID-19 tests; 62 Sheriff’s Office staff members have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.
“The entire staff of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the safety, security, and well-being of inmates who remain incarcerated at the El Paso County Jail. With the imminent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic our commitment has not wavered. Over the course of the last couple weeks we have put in place even more aggressive measures to minimize the risk of exposure to staff and inmates.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office implemented emergency operating plans as COVID-19 began to spread throughout the world. Between March and mid-October, there were three inmates and eleven staff members who had lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Beginning October 26, the Sheriff’s Office reported eight lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to our staff across varying assignments. On October 27, the Sheriff’s Office announced two more deputies who work at the Jail, and eight inmates had lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. Because of these cases, the Sheriff’s Office triggered an aggressive, prioritized COVID testing schedule, which was and continues to be implemented for staff and inmates.
On November 1, 2020, at our request the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) deployed a rapid response team comprised of Colorado National Guard (CONG) soldiers to facilitate widespread testing of inmates at the El Paso County Jail, collecting 1,028 samples on that day. As of November 3, 2020, 693 inmates have positive COVID-19 tests; 62 Sheriff’s Office staff members have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.
Recognizing that this is an at-risk population considering the density of people living within close quarters, this testing strategy aims to quickly identify and further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the El Paso County Jail. Test results are used to implement appropriate isolation and cohort recommendations quickly.
To combat the rampant spread of this disease the Sheriffs have implemented some very restrictive housing measures. These restrictions are not punitive; they are based on scientific data, medical guidance, and industry best practices as they apply to the layout of our jail. At this point in time, there have been no inmates who have had to be hospitalized. They are all being treated in the facility by our medical provider, WellPath.
This current COVID-19 situation remains the top priority of Sheriff Elder and the staff at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to test and care for every employee and inmate and provide the safest facility possible under these rapidly evolving conditions.”Jacqueline Kirby, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office