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Spokane Jail Officials Crossing Fingers On Covid Outbreak At Geiger, 79 Inmates Sickened

Screenshot from Spokane County press conference

Spokane County jail officials hope they have under control a Covid outbreak that has sickened 79 inmates at the Geiger Correctional Facility.

Jail Director Mike Sparber says a few of those have shown minor symptoms, but none have needed hospitalization.

Sparber says the county has isolated the Covid-positive inmates in one building and increased the frequency of testing: twice-weekly for inmates and once-a-week for staff. He says inmates and staff all wear masks and areas are cleaned frequently.

Health District Epidemiologist Betsy Bertelsen believes that should reduce the spread of the virus. “I expect to see additional positives but not at the rate we have seen thus far."

As for tracking the sources of the virus, Sparber says it’s been difficult because of the comings and goings of people at the facility. 

“It may have been somebody in court, exposure in court. It may have been from some other jurisdiction they brought their inmate from. And it could be from the public. Lastly would be our staff who may have potentially brought that," he said.

Sparber says the county is trying to do more court proceedings and meetings with attorneys in virtual settings, rather than face-to-face. He says the county is trying to allow inmates more phone access to family and friends.

He says two inmates at the downtown jail and five corrections officers have also tested positive.