OUR VIEW: Jail took situation serious following outbreak

Published 10:30 am Saturday, June 26, 2021

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COVID-19 hit its summertime peak a year ago this week in Troup County. Thanks mostly to an outbreak of cases at the Troup County Jail, there were 116 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Troup County on June 23, which is still an all-time high.

Every inmate at the jail was tested that week as Sheriff James Woodruff and his staff worked to get the situation under control.

The jail was under a lot of scrutiny that week, as a large group of citizens went there one night to demand answers.

The following day Woodruff said he’d meet with every family privately to discuss the situation, but a large number of people were waiting at the jail that morning. Instead, he stood in a circle of concerned community members and answered questions. We livestreamed it on our Facebook page. It turned into an impromptu press conference, though most of the questions were from the public, not the media

Later, during that same week, Woodruff, County Manager Eric Mosley and Court Services Director Lindsay Mobley held a more formal press conference on the courthouse steps.  The county’s position was clear — it wanted the public to know that the situation was being taken seriously.

But, as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

And the sheriff’s office had plenty of action. It altered the way it was doing things, quarantining anyone who went to jail and monitoring them for symptoms.

Since the outbreak, Woodruff estimated the jail has had only a handful of COVID-19 cases, which is remarkable when compared to last June.

When you’ve got 71 inmates at the jail with COVID-19, it’s not hard to see that becoming a recurring problem, especially when you consider that new people are always going in and out of jail. However, the sheriff’s office worked with District 4 Public Health, took safety measures seriously and took care of the situation before it could become any worse.

We certainly understand the concern community members had when COVID-19 was in high numbers in the jail, especially if a family member was in the facility.

But thankfully, much was done to prevent further spread. We applaud the sheriff’s office, District 4 Public Health and everyone else involved in ensuring the situation got under control and kept it under control.