• Rich Klein

Nearly 20 Inmates at County Jail Have Tested Positive For COVID-19 In Recent Days

Updated: Jan 7

Nearly 20 inmates at the Sullivan County Jail on Old Route 17 have now tested positive for COVID 19 since last week, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation but who did not want to be identified.


The SullivanTimes reported exclusively last week that six people had tested positive after speaking with the relative of an inmate. That number has now grown to close to 20, according to the sources. It's unknown at press time if any correction officers or staff have been infected.


Meanwhile, there has been no public statement about the latest outbreak from any County officials, including Sheriff Michael Schiff and Undersheriff Eric Chaboty who oversee the Jail Division with Hal Smith, the jail administrator.


Schiff and/or Chaboty are expected to make their regular report to the County Legislature's Public Safety Committee on Thursday.


The SullivanTimes today reached out to the Legislator Nicholas Salomone, Jr., who chairs that committee, as well as Legislator Nadia Rajsz, who chairs the Health & Family Services Committee for comment about the current jail situation.


One of the sources told The SullivanTimes today (Monday) that due to the spread of the virus, those who tested positive in recent days have been moved from their pod to a confined area that is akin to solitary confinement - and that they were told they have to remain there for 21 days. The source added that the inmates' clothes have not been washed and linens have not been changed for days. And, the ability to shower regularly has been limited by jail officials. Those who tested positive have been given Tylenol and vitamin packets and some unknown medication, the source said.


When the very first case of COVID-19 hit the former jail on Bushnell Avenue in May 2020, Schiff said: "We are working with the state Commission of Corrections, Sullivan County Public Health and our County’s Emergency Management team to mitigate the spread of the virus."


The cases increased from there that month and two inmates spoke to The SullivanTimes about conditions.


(THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY)



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