21 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Newton County detention center

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Newton County Sheriff’s Office says 21 residents in the detention center have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sheriff Ezell Brown said the 21 residents are experiencing little to no symptoms, but they have restricted the inmates’ movement and they will remain in quarantine for 14 days.

“Due to the outbreak, we have restricted movement within those two areas and increased our medical staff to give round-the-clock attention to the 21 residents who are exhibiting little to no symptoms at all,” Brown said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

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Brown said that based on contact tracing, they think the inmates contracted the virus from staff members. One inmate who was housed at another facility and moved to Newton County, is receiving “special attention.” That inmate is being held in a zero-pressured unit.

Brown said none of the inmates appeared to have exhibited life-threatening symptoms.

Brown also addressed rumors about the outbreak on social media, saying that allegations that residents do not have access to soap are not true.

“We insist our residents keep their personal hygiene at the highest level. We insist that each and every inmate shower daily and change clothes to maintain proper hygiene and to maintain the highest level of cleanliness,” Brown said.

“Regardless of these false allegations, we are, in no way, hiding information from the public regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in our detention center. We have never once attempted to hide information, and we are not going to start today. We believe in the highest level of transparency. And these are the facts, regardless of whatever information is being circulated online about this outbreak.”

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