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14 inmates test positive at county jail, sheriff says

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said Thursday that 14 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Madison County Jail. Additionally, 12 inmates will be tested Friday. The outbreak is the first reported cluster for the facility since the onset of the pandemic.

Mellinger has asked local judges to consider releasing some non-violent offenders.

“Since April, the judges have been very flexible in regards to releasing the lower level charged inmates,” Mellinger said. “Because of the seriousness of the virus and the way it spreads in a facility like this, they were releasing people a lot more frequently because of this situation.”

“That has slowed down over the last three or four weeks because Madison County’s virus numbers have gotten a little bit better,” he continued. “All I am asking is they revisit the flexibility they were showing in the spring.”

Mellinger said the facility is heading towards an “impossible situation.

“We have 21 cell blocks, right now, 11 are dedicated for isolation or for inmates who have tested positive,” Mellinger said. “Even more of those blocks are dedicated to quarantining inmates who have come into the facilities.”

“We have been very fortunate up to this point. I assumed there would be a time we’d have a pretty large outbreak, and it looks like that time has come.”

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 1,046 new COVID-19 cases and 20 additional deaths on Thursday. That makes 77,565 total positive cases and 2,898 deaths for the state since the onset of the pandemic.

The seven-day positivity rate from July 31 through Aug. 6 increased slightly to 7.8 percent. In Madison County, the seven-day positivity rate rose to 8.5 percent.

The county reported 17 new cases, bringing the total to 1,048 known positive tests since March. Deaths have remained at 66 since Aug. 8. The Indiana COVID-19 Dashboard reports an additional 207 probable COVID-19 deaths.

On Wednesday, Elwood Schools superintendent Dr. Joe Brown informed parents of a staff member testing positive at Elwood Intermediate School. To date, three students and three staff members within the corporation have tested positive for the virus

At least one teacher employed with Frankton-Lapel is quarantined after coming in close contact with an infected person.

Dr. Melissa Brisco, superintendent of Alexandria School Corporation, notified parents last Friday of a substitute teacher employed by the high school who had tested positive.

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