The new outbreak came to light after an inmate at the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle reported flulike symptoms on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. This person had been at the jail for more than a month and tested negative upon initial entry. As soon as this case was reported on Sunday, everybody housed within the same part of the jail was tested, despite being asymptomatic. Of 69 people, 15 additional individuals tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
The positive individuals were transferred to medical isolation at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. The other 54 have been placed in quarantine housing at KCCF.
This is the first time we have confirmed cases of COVID-19 from coronavirus exposures that occurred within our jails. In earlier cases of inmates or staff testing positive, it is considered likely that infection occurred outside our facilities.
Public Health contact tracers are working to identify any inmates, staff or visitors who may have had close contact with the recently identified cases among our in-custody population. Before testing positive, this inmate had been in a wing that houses inmate-workers – those who help in jail operations.
Staff has decontaminated the wing of the jail where these individuals had been housed, as well as any hallways, elevators or transport vehicles they may have used.
Prior to this weekend’s outbreak, King County had confirmed 47 cases of COVID-19.