BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County Jail Board discussed positive cases of COVID-19 in the jail during the monthly meeting Tuesday, following five positive cases in the inmates.
Board Chairman Herb Bullers questioned Warden Dustin Myers about the work release program, mentioning the last time the board talked about it, it had been paused.
“As soon as we had the positive cases the judge (John Foradora) stepped up and shut it down. He asked my advice and I went to my medical crew and they said to shut it down for 21 days,” Myers said.
Myers said the program had started back up after being paused for a few weeks. The jail had five positive cases of COVID-19 in the inmate population. He confirmed that all five of the cases came from Paris Cleaners workers.
He said the jail workers were able to catch the cases quickly because the Pennsylvania Department of Health had provided them with a large quantity of rapid tests they had been using to test anyone who showed symptoms.
“We found one person who had symptoms, and we tested that entire housing unit,” Myers said. “We caught all of them.”
He said this quick action allowed the workers to prevent 15 other inmates in the same housing unit from getting COVID-19. He called the situation a perfect storm, and said the jail was lucky to have caught the cases as quickly as they did.
“We took appropriate actions, quarantined, cleaned their areas, and constantly monitored them, and we’re back up and running and back to normal again. Everybody has been retested, we have zero positive cases as of right now,” Myers said.
He said it was a team effort and that everybody stepped up and did exactly what they were supposed to do to contain the issue.
“We’ve got a plan. The courts came together with the jail and we had a couple conversations and we all seen eye to eye and we did what was right and it got fixed,” Myers said. “We talked about it in the past. Commissioner Bullers is pretty on top of it and always wants to know what we’re going to do. It’s a good working relationship and I’m glad he’s as involved as he is.”
Bullers brought up discussion about Myers requesting to hire a maintenance person for the jail. He said the board had some concerns about a maintenance person running out work.
“That’s never going to happen,” Myers said. “I’ve got enough up there for two for a long time.”
“I know there’s a lot of times where at the courthouse, not anything urgent, but I would say 85 percent of the time if I need a maintenance guy for something at the courthouse, and they’re not in their office or working on something at the courthouse, they’re at the jail,” said Chad Weaver, court administrator.
Bullers said the board could have some more discussion on it, and would be willing to pursue hiring someone.