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Sheriff Says Tulsa County Jail COVID-19 Outbreak Decreasing Among Inmates, Increasing Among Staff

Chris Polansky
Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado (at lectern) at a press conference at Tulsa City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado said Tuesday that while COVID-19 infections from the county jail outbreak reported earlier this month are down among the inmate population, cases are on the rise among guards.

Regalado said at a press conference at Tulsa City Hall that the number of inmates with active cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus was 27, down from 84 two weeks ago. Regalado said the jail had previously established a peak of six "pods," or quarantine units, for inmates.

"I'm pleased to report today we are down to one pod," he said. According to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, 141 inmates have tested positive for the disease over the course of the pandemic.

Regalado said that 17 detention officers were currently quarantining after testing positive, however, a notable uptick. He said that his office is considering a contingency plan should that number rise higher still that would see sheriff's deputies brought in to staff the jail.

"This week will be critical in determining whether or not we have to implement those contingency plans," Regalado said.

The sheriff said most, if not all, TCSO deputies have experience as detention officers, so training would not be an issue.

"It's going to be finding bodies, and to that point I would tell you that, that's the contingency plan. We don't have a contingency plan past that, because we don't have anybody to work that," Regalado said. He said he is encouraging staff to get flu shots, wear masks, socially distance, and practice good hygiene in order to stay healthy.

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