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COVID-19: DeKalb Co. Sheriff Reveals Plans As More Employees, Inmates Test Positive

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Sheriff Melody Maddox held a news conference on April 21, 2020, to discuss the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office's COVID-19 containment initiatives.

She discussed the agency's efforts to try to flatten the curve and remain transparent in its handling of the public health emergency related to coronavirus.

Maddox said there are now 10 confirmed cases among her staff, which she said represents 2% of her employees.

She also said 13 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and she said that number represents 1% of the jail population of 1,200 men and 101 women. She said all 13 of those cases are males.

This is up from the four cases the agency reported back on March 31, when it confirmed two employees and two inmates tested positive. Maddox said all of the employees and inmates who have tested positive are in treatment or under quarantine.

She said the agency's two goals throughout the pandemic have been to prevent the exposure of inmates and to contain the virus, but she said they have faced challenges like other agencies.

Maddox discussed the additional initiatives she said the department is implementing to meet those objectives, which include providing limited access to facilities, screening everyone who enters for fevers and requiring officers who conduct the screenings to wear safety masks.

Maddox also discussed precautions the department is taking at the jail, including cleaning and disinfecting the facility, requiring social distancing and issuing all employees masks and gloves.

She said inmates continue to receive their regular three meals per day.

In terms of whether the agency will enforce restrictions on businesses that will now be able to open on April 24 and 27, under Governor Brian Kemp's order, Maddox told CW69:

We rely on the businesses to use some sort of discretion as they open their business and to still follow the CEC guidelines. We don't want to arrest anybody, but we just want people to use common sense and some sort of discretion.

Click on the video to watch the full news conference.

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