COVID-19 Spreads In Tulsa County Jail; 84 Active Cases, Sheriff's Office Says

Oct 13, 2020

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is responding to a COVID-19 outbreak inside the county jail, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

TCSO communications director Casey Roebuck said at a press conference that of a total population of 1,158 inmates being held as of Tuesday, 84 were actively infected with the novel coronavirus. 21 more were considered recovered, and six staff members were also infected. Roebuck said there have been no hospitalizations, but that inmates had received medical treatment in-house.

"The ultimate goal is to make sure that not only these inmates are okay but that it's not spread throughout the community. We definitely don't want our inmate population taking up ventilators at local hospitals," Roebuck said.

According to Roebuck, all new inmates are tested at time of booking and held in an isolated unit until a negative test. She also said the jail had been taking the temperatures of staff, sanitizing facilities, and had provided masks and hand sanitizer for all inmates and employees.

"We're not panicking here," Roebuck said. "We knew at some point our inmate population was going to reflect what we see in the community, and we've spent a lot of time and resources preparing for this to make sure that we're on top of it, to make sure that we have the PPE (personal protective equipment) that we need and the sanitation to stay on top of the situation."

Jail administrator Maj. Eric Kitch said the jail has sufficient space to keep infected and exposed inmates isolated for the time being.

"I do have places to quarantine folks at this time, as long as the numbers stay where they're at," Kitch said.

Asked after the press conference what the jail's plan was if the outbreak worsens, Roebuck said she was unable to answer that question at this time.