First confirmed case of COVID-19 reported in Maricopa County jail

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 20:44:58-04

PHOENIX — Maricopa County officials say they have the first confirmed case of COVID-19 involving an inmate at one of their facilities.

According to a Friday release, the inmate was arrested on Sunday. During the intake process, the person reportedly complained of a cough and sore throat, prompting jail staff to place the individual in an isolation cell with a mask.

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The inmate was then tested for COVID-19.

County officials say everyone in the unit has been segregated from the general population and housed in individual holding cells to prevent further exposure.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is continuing to work on identifying who may have had any close contact with the inmate.

According to officials, the individual was released from jail on Wednesday while results of the test were pending. Prior to release, Correctional Health Services workers went over with the person the importance of continuing to isolate after release.

CHS received the positive test results on Thursday, and began working with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to investigate the situation and contact anyone who may have been exposed.

The inmate's last known residence is outside Maricopa County, so officials are working with the Arizona Department of Health Services to complete the investigation

County officials say as of Friday, this is the only confirmed inmate case of COVID-19 in the Maricopa County jail system.

So far, 123 inmates have been tested. Out of those tested, 107 have come back negative, and 15 others are in isolation awaiting results.

While this is the first known case within the Maricopa County system, positive cases among inmates state-wide have been confirmed.