Two Broward jail inmates are infected with COVID-19, according to information released by the Broward Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.
The news comes as prosecutors weigh early release options for nonviolent inmates.
One of the inmates was at the Sheriff’s Office’s North Broward Bureau in Pompano Beach, according to the press release, which said the prisoner showed no signs of the disease after arrest and screening in March.
The inmate tested positive at a hospital April 1, after initially refusing an unrelated routine medical test March 31, which health care staff had recommended.
The BSO said it has notified the Department of Health and that all housing units the inmate has been in have been placed under precautionary quarantine. Medical staff are watching for COVID-19 symptoms.
The BSO said it will be decontaminating affected areas. It has also notified the arresting officer and all staff who’ve been in contact with the inmate, recommending that they self-isolate and get in touch with the Department of Health.
The second inmate tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, but the BSO did not elaborate on the circumstances.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said its prosecutors have been working out terms of release for as many nonviolent inmates as possible without resorting to the emergency docket.
“We have been very concerned about the potential for this to occur and that is why we have been working with the courts and the criminal defense bar to release non-violent offenders,” Paula McMahon, spokesperson for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said via email.
This follows news that several prison staff have tested positive for the disease across Florida, including at the Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County and regional community corrections offices in Lake Butler and West Palm Beach.