Thirty-two inmates and staff at the Franklin County Regional Jail have tested positive for COVID-19.

Jailer Jake Banta told The State Journal on Friday morning that 27 inmates and five deputies had contracted the virus.

“We have all of the results back except five,” he said. “We have tested 204 inmates to date.”

Last Saturday Banta told the newspaper that “a few inmates and staff” had tested positive for the coronavirus, adding that jail employees were “working diligently to ensure that we continue to follow CDC guidelines along with policy and procedures to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible during this time.”

The jailer said he notified Judge-Executive Huston Wells, the Franklin County Health Department, the Department of Corrections, federal agencies and numerous other government agencies who are assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will continue assessing this situation, as it will change day by day,” Banta said. “We will continue testing.”

He said jail staff cannot discuss an inmate’s medical condition or information with family or friends.

There have been 2,233 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County since March, according to the local health department. Of that number, 179 cases were active as of Thursday.

So far this month, there have been 159 confirmed coronavirus cases in the county.

“We were blessed to keep this out of the jail for a long time. Now we have to deal with it,” Banta added.

“I want to personally thank the men and women of the Franklin County Regional Jail that wear the uniform. They come to work knowing it’s dangerous every day — true courage.”

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