Harvey Co. Detention Center deemed a cluster

By Harvey County Health Department
January 08, 2020

NEWTON -- The Harvey County Health Department, in conjunction with the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office, has confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the Harvey County Detention Center. 

The cluster includes five inmates that have tested positive. These individuals, all from Pod D, are in isolation away from the rest of the Detention Center population. Additionally, the remaining four inmates assigned to the pod are in quarantine as close contacts. The inmates do not have interactions with other inmates outside of their own pod. 

The first case was identified through precautionary COVID-19 testing of an inmate to prepare for transport to another facility. The individual was asymptomatic.  

Additional testing was conducted for the other inmates in the positive case’s pod, confirming the four additional positive cases.  

“First and foremost, we hope all of these individuals recover in full health. Thankfully, those that are positive have reported only mild COVID-19 symptoms, or no symptoms at all, but we  will continue to monitor to make sure they are well,” said Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay.  

The Detention Center implemented several safety precautions early in the pandemic, including health screenings of those entering the facility, deputies wearing face masks when interacting with inmates and additional cleaning. Inmates continue to have access to medical professionals. 

“These past several months, our staff has put tremendous effort into reducing potential COVID 19 exposures,” said Harvey County Detention Center Lt. Brian Huntley. “We will continue to strive to provide healthy environments for the people in our supervision and care.” 

A cluster was identified Wednesday among employees of the Sheriff’s Office facility. There is no known exposure linking that cluster with the cluster in the Detention Center. Detention Center staff are being tested for COVID-19 as a precaution. 

Inmate visitation for Pod D, as well as fingerprinting services at the Detention Center, have been temporarily suspended. Inmates have access to phone calls and video conferencing. 

The cluster will be considered active until there are 28 consecutive days – two incubation periods – without positive cases.