DPH conducts COVID-19 testing at the Troup County jail

Published 11:31 am Friday, June 19, 2020

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More than 450 people, including inmates and jail staff, were tested Friday for COVID-19 by the Department of Public Health at the Troup County Jail.

According to TCSO Sgt. Stewart Smith, as of Friday morning, the jail is currently housing 393 inmates and has approximately 60 members of the jail staff. 

“Our max capacity bed-wise is 450,” Smith said. “We have beds, and we also have what we call ‘boats.’ It is like a cot but you put a mattress in it. We usually give them about two mattresses that they can put in it. There is no one sleeping on the concrete with just a blanket. No one is on the bare floor.” 

All of the testing was expected to take all day Friday. According to DPH, the results will take three to five days to come back.

Smith said that once the results come in, TCSO will inform the public and have an action plan moving forward. 

“All inmates that have not been recently tested are being tested,” Smith said. “We have opened testing up to outside jail staff. That means deputies can come in and get tested as well. All inmates have the right to refuse a test, but most of them, if not all, have said they are willing to be tested.” 

Smith said their plan will be based on how many positives and negative results TCSO receives. 

“There might be some other isolation that takes place,” Smith said. “It’s just a waiting game on how long it is going to take them to get results. The only downside of this test is that it is only as good as the day you run the test.” 

Currently, all inmates who have recently tested positive are being housed in the old jail annex. The jail annex was closed a few years ago by the county as a way to save money. 

Smith said when the pandemic first hit, TCSO opened it back up, cleaned it and got it ready to be used again. 

“There were some areas that were being used for storage, and we moved those out,” Smith said. “It is a functioning prison and is staffed. It is being ran just like the jail. There are beds. There is medical staff, who checks on them constantly.” 

Smith said depending on the numbers, the positives may be switched with the negatives in the jails. 

“We want our positives to have quick and good access to our medical staff,” Smith said. “So, we could move all positives back to the main jail and the negatives to the annex. Right now, the positives are getting around the clock care and no complaint is being left unturned.” 

Smith said a majority of the positive cases are asymptomatic, which means they are not showing any major symptoms. 

“We do not have any in critical care at this point,” Smith said. “There have been no deaths that have come out of this facility.”