TriCounty COVID-19 patient was new inmate of Uintah County Prison

Uintah County Sheriff Steve Labrum. Images: Facebook; Google Maps

UINTAH COUNTY, Utah, March 27, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) – The TriCounty Health Department on Friday confirmed its first documented case of COVID-19 and it became known that the patient was an inmate in Uintah County Jail until 11 days ago.

“There was speculation that the person in the Uintah County Jail was infected with COVID-19,” said a press release released on Friday afternoon.

The statement contains facts to refute any claim that the patient was ill while incarcerated, which could have resulted in other inmates and guards being exposed to COVID-19.

The rest of the statement appears below:

These are the facts based on prison records and my conversations with TriCounty Health Department officials:

  • After returning to Uintah County, he was examined by a doctor on March 25, 2020 * for symptoms related to COVID-19. (March * 25 is a correction requested by the source. The original release said March 24.)

Speaking to TriCounty health officials, they are confident that if the person had been exposed to COVID-19 while in prison, the person would have shown symptoms before March 25 *.

To reiterate, this person did not develop symptoms of COVID-19 for more than a week after being released from prison and visiting Salt Lake County.

The sheriff’s office has taken COVID-19 seriously and has taken several proactive steps to reduce the risk of exposure to staff and inmates.

In a previous press release, I discussed how courts and judges have been seriously considering who could be released from prison. With the extra space that the prison has, we have been able to separate the residential units so that there is no cross-contamination or interaction between the residential units.

Volunteers are no longer allowed to go to the prison since March 13, 2020. On March 14, 2020, all traffic between the residential units was completely stopped.

Prison staff will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before entering prison for their shifts.

People who were in the same residential unit as the person who now tested positive for COVID-19 will be checked twice a day for elevated temperatures and monitored for diseases.

With the announcement of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in our district, please take your health and that of your family seriously. To slow the spread of the virus, social distancing is crucial right now.

That doesn’t mean we should stop living, but it does mean that we need to use our common sense, wash our hands properly, cover our coughs, stay home when we’re sick and don’t panic.

Sheriff Steve Labrum, Uintah County Sheriff’s Office

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