Snohomish County inmate positive for COVID-19; still jailed

A new screening process led medical staff to quarantine and test the man before he entered the jail.

EVERETT — An inmate at the Snohomish County Jail has tested positive for COVID-19.

The man in his 20s was arrested March 25 and he has been quarantined and in isolation since his arrival at the jail.

He was undergoing a new screening process for coronavirus — in a 20-by-20-foot tent outside the jail’s main booking area — when medical staff noted he had a low fever and a mild cough, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

He tested negative for influenza, and a COVID-19 test came back positive Tuesday, according to a news release Wednesday evening.

“This was a suspected COVID-19 case upon arrival at our jail, our corrections and medical teams intercepted and mitigated exposure at the very earliest stages upon admittance to our jail,” Lt. Keith Rogers said.

The inmate was accused of violating a domestic violence no-contact order, a charge that required under state law that he be taken to jail. He was behind bars Wednesday and was being monitored 24 hours a day, Rogers said.

The sheriff’s office was reviewing whether staff or other inmates were exposed at any point.

No one else in the jail has tested positive.

In recent weeks, as the COVID-19 outbreak took off in the U.S., many older inmates and those with underlying health conditions were released after bail hearings in an effort to prevent at-risk inmates and staff from getting sick or dying.

The sheriff’s office also declined to book inmates accused of many nonviolent or drug-related crimes, and as of this week the inmate population hovered around 400, about half what it had been at the start of March.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

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