coronavirus

COVID Outbreak at Maine Jail Prompts Lockdown, Facility's First Emergency

About 40% of inmates are vaccinated, and the rate among corrections staff is 50%, Sheriff Kevin Joyce said

NBC 5 News

A Maine county declared an emergency at its jail due to a COVID-19 outbreak and a lack of corrections officers.

About 300 inmates at Cumberland County Jail are in lockdown for all but an hour a day due to the outbreak. The county declared an emergency at the jail for the first time in its history last week, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Sheriff Kevin Joyce said Wednesday that the most recent round of testing showed seven staff members and nine inmates are positive for the coronavirus. About 40% of inmates are vaccinated, and the rate among corrections staff is 50%. Those numbers are both well below the state percentage of about 75% for eligible people.

Twenty-one corrections officers have resigned from the jail this year. It’s budgeted for 129 positions and about 60 are currently working.

There are new vaccine and mask requirements at city-owned venues in Portland, Maine.

County Commissioner James Cloutier has raised the idea of potentially temporarily closing the facility. The jail is not taking new inmates, who are being diverted to facilities elsewhere.

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