MORRISTOWN, NJ - On the day when 28  inmates at the Morris County jail were being released before finishing their sentences, due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic,one inmate tested positive.

The inmate that tested positive for COVID-19 is being held in medical isolation, said officials.

The affected inmate was admitted to the facility in early March and was part of a specific group of inmates who, for existing medical or mental health reasons, started having their temperatures taken on a daily basis as of last week as a precaution against the coronavirus, said officials. On Saturday, the inmate presented with a slight temperature and was immediately put into medical isolation, they said.

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 A swab was submitted to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing and results received Tuesday showed he was positive for the virus and will remain in isolation in the facility’s 24-hour Medical Unit, said officials.

For the past two weeks, every new admission to the facility has received a COVID 19 medical screening that includes a series of questions about health, travel and potential contact with others who have contracted the coronavirus. Temperature checks of new admissions began a week ago.

“The Morris County Correctional Facility is taking every precaution to guard against transmission of COVID-19, for the health and safety of Officers and staff and the inmates entrusted to its care.  We are ahead of the curve on sanitation and safety protocols but correctional facilities, because of the populations they house, can be susceptible to health risks,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

The Correctional Facility beginning in early March has put rigorous measures in place to safeguard against possible transmission of the COVID-19 infection. They include:

  • Suspension of visits between inmates and family members;
  • Temperature checks of all Officers, Staff and Contractors entering the facility;
  • An extensive cleaning schedule that enhances ordinary rigorous sanitation of the facility. It includes disinfection of all areas within all housing units every other day; daily disinfection of all generally-touched surfaces; daily disinfection and deep cleaning of the Medical Unit; availability of hand sanitizer to staff and permitted visitors.
  • All new inmate admissions are screened in a facility vestibule prior to entering the building, and have a temperature check and medical screening.
  • Continuing a protocol started on March 5, the healthcare provider conducting Nurse’s Screening for all new admission inmates will ask the same travel and symptom questions presented to lawyers and professional visitors. If an inmate responds yes to any question, the healthcare provider shall notify custody staff to place the inmate in a cell by him or herself and call the Facility Physician to determine the next steps.

On Sunday, it was reported that a Morris County Corrections Officer tested positive for COVID-19. The officer is now self-isolating and ultraviolet light cleansing and special cleaning was done in the facility, said the sheriff's office.


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