The first Alachua County inmate with coronavirus was confirmed over the weekend, according to spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Art Forgey. The unnamed inmate tested positive during his or her fourteenth day in jail on Saturday, July 4, after a test was administered late Friday evening.
As of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, there were 8 positive cases, 52 negative cases, 13 pending cases and one refusal to be tested. Among the 642 inmates in Alachua County as of Sunday — ranging in age from 18 to 61 — 74 are being quarantined.
Forgey said the Alachua County Health Department has been involved in both testing and contact tracing among the inmates.
As of July 2, disposable masks were issued to inmates of all cell types, allowing replacements weekly or as needed. Prisons will continue conducting temperature checks and screening of new inmates upon arrival.
To monitor inmate cases in all Florida county jails, the data is compiled by the Florida Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management here.
Across the state, case counts jumped after a coordinated effort to amp up testing in mid-May. Since then, eight virus hotspots have emerged in counties largely outside of North Central Florida, as outlined in a report by the Tampa Bay Times. Statewide, the FDC extended the visitation suspension for Florida prisoners to June 15. Making national headlines earlier this month, one inmate wrote home in a letter that shines light on what exactly it’s like to be a prisoner during a pandemic.