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Bannock County Jail confirms 4 inmates test positive for COVID-19

Bannock County Jail

BANNOCK COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Interim Sheriff Tony Manu explained it was a matter of when, not if, the coronavirus would make its way into the jail.

In a press conference Thursday, Manu confirmed four inmates tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

One person started feeling symptomatic on Sunday night, then another five expressed symptoms on Monday, Manu said. The jail tested six people Monday and has received four positive results, one negative and one is still pending.

All inmates that were feeling symptomatic were isolated, but as of Thursday morning, about 10 or 15 inmates are showing COVID-19-like symptoms.

Darah Grogan, the Nursing Director for Ivy Medical, came to Bannock County Wednesday evening to help the jail with moving forward in the medical process.

Grogan, along with the Southeastern Idaho Public Health office, started testing all 235 inmates on Wednesday. They will test all staff as they rotate through their shifts. Test results are expected to be back before August 29, Grogan said.

Weeks ago, staff issued two cloth, washable masks to each inmate to wear at their discretion, Manu said.

Before Monday, staff were not required to wear face coverings at work, but they are now, Manu said. Manu is asking jail staff and staff in the rest of the office to limit interaction with each other.

There are no inmates who require hospitalizing right now, but everyone will be provided with medications to treat their symptoms if they need it.

Since March, every inmate is screened for fever and symptoms before being booked into the jail, which will continue. It is unclear how coronavirus was transmitted in the jail, Manu said.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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