Over 400 inmates were recently tested for COVID-19 here at the Madison County Jail, health officials say depending on the number of positives that come back the jail will be in a tough situation.
An inmate at the Madison County Jail was released earlier this week, they took a COVID-19 test and that test came back positive.
The person had been an inmate at the jail since January of this year, giving the health department a reason to test all the inmates.
“In this situation what prompted the testing was an inmate that was released that went for testing and tested positive", says regional director for the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department, Kim Tedford.
The initial positive case lived in a day room with 20 other inmates the health department tested those inmates first and 16 of them also tested positive.
Jail administrator, Captain Tom Rudder says none of the inmates were showing symptoms that’s why a mass testing had not been conducted earlier.
“We had not had anyone symptomatic, that’s what I want to point out to you. If we would have had someone symptomatic, we would have tested them", says Rudder.
The health department is still waiting for the rest of the inmates tests to come back from the State lab, but health officials say they will not be surprised to see more positive tests.
“And the jail population has gone up, its not surprising that we see asymptomatic positives and I’m not going to be surprised if we see other positives when we get these state lab results back too", adds Tedford.
Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said he is working with the district attorney to form a list of inmates who can be released early to make social distancing happen inside of the jail. Imani Williams, for 39 News, in Jackson.