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Sheriff: DeKalb County jail inmate, Sheriff’s Office employee test positive for COVID-19

Avondale Estates COVID-19 Crime and public safety Decatur Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL Tucker

Sheriff: DeKalb County jail inmate, Sheriff’s Office employee test positive for COVID-19

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A map of DeKalb County.


Decatur, GA – The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said an inmate and an employee at the Sheriff’s Office have tested positive for COVID-19.

“A 35-year old male inmate in the DeKalb County Jail is undergoing treatment at Grady Memorial Hospital after he tested positive for the virus during a medical assessment while in custody in the hospital,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “A 57-year-old male employee whose job has no contact with inmates has also been confirmed as having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus while out on sick leave. The sheriff’s office learned of both medical reports today.”

Sheriff Melody Maddox said the Sheriff’s Office learned about the inmate’s diagnosis from Grady physicians treating the inmate for other medical concerns.

“Upon notification, we immediately instituted our protocols for identifying and isolating individuals who might have had contact with the inmate since he has been incarcerated here,” she said. “Those precautions include conducting additional medical assessment of other inmates and officers for any symptoms to ensure that anyone who did have contact with the infected inmate is isolated so they can receive the proper medical attention.”

The Sheriff’s Office also has started a “reverse contact investigation” to identify other employees who may have come into contact with the infected coworker. That employee has been out of the office since March 13 and is on medical leave for other conditions.

“Potentially exposed employees are being advised to self-quarantine at home and to seek medical assessments from agency health care resources and private physicians,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Beginning yesterday, March 23, 2020, all persons entering the Sheriff’s Office headquarters offices and jail on Memorial Drive and at the courthouse have been undergoing temperature checks at the facility entrances.  Access is denied anyone exhibiting a fever – a key symptom of the COVID-19 virus.”

Maddox said the jail was preparing for this possibility.

“Since before we were faced with this public health emergency, we have followed very stringent protocols for infectious disease containment and control,” Maddox said in the press release. “In consideration of this new virus, however, we have made adjustments to our response plans in conjunction with and on advice of public health officials.”

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