984 COVID-19 cases confirmed at El Paso County Jail, one of the biggest outbreaks in Colorado

Coronavirus

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — There are nearly 1,000 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates and staff at the El Paso County Jail, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.

According to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, as of Monday, 911 inmates and 73 staff members had tested positive for the virus.

The outbreak is one of the largest in Colorado since the pandemic started.

The University of Colorado Boulder has 1,635 cases and Sterling Correctional Facility has 703 total cases, according to state data. The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver has 742 total cases, but the majority of them are not lab-confirmed.

The outbreak at the jail started in late October. On Oct. 26, the sheriff’s office reported eight positive cases.

The sheriff’s office requested assistance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. On Nov. 1, the CDPHE deployed a rapid response team consisting of soldiers from the Colorado National Guard to help test inmates and staff at the jail.

The team collected 1,028 samples on Nov. 1.

The sheriff’s office has not reported any COVID-19 deaths within the outbreak.

“Throughout the past few months, we have been able to dramatically decrease our jail population and have identified the at-risk inmates and are taking the appropriate measures based on CDC and Public Health recommendations.  The Sheriff’s Office, along with our stakeholders have done everything feasible, without sacrificing public safety to lower our inmate population,” the sheriff’s office said.

It added that the COVID-19 situation remains its top priority.

“We have begun to conduct follow-up testing with those that have been identified as COVID positive. We expect these numbers to start going down within the week,” the sheriff’s office said.

In early April, El Paso County Deputy Jeff Hopkins died from the virus.

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