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The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has identified an additional six cases of COVID-19 among incarcerated individuals at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center, bringing the total number of positive cases discovered since Oct. 2 to 49.
Four of the six new cases were discovered in tests taken during the intake process and are not related to this month’s outbreak. Two of the new patients had been in the facility’s population when tested. All patients were isolated from the general jail population.
All of the facility’s approximately 900 incarcerated individuals have now been tested and many are being retested. Sixteen patients who tested positive in the first wave of testing have completed their isolation, are no longer infectious and have been returned to the general population.
Most patients in the facility are asymptomatic. None who are symptomatic exhibit moderate or severe symptoms, and they are frequently evaluated by medical providers. Adjustments have been made to facilitate isolation in single cells for each patient who requires it.
On Oct. 2, an incarcerated patient tested positive during routine screening. The patient, who had previously tested negative for the disease, was transferred to the facility’s COVID unit. Employees of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health immediately began additional PCR testing of inmates and employees who had had contact with the patient.
Before that case, DPH had detected no evidence of transmission of the virus within the facility. All previous cases were traced to transmission before the individual entered the facility.
To support our COVID patients’ connection to their families, the Community Liaison program was expanded to allow patients to allow Corrections Medicine to share a specific set of information with identified family members. Incarcerated patients have access to telephones at least twice daily, and facility employees are encouraging patients and close contacts to keep their families updated. Families of incarcerated individuals who would like more information are encouraged to email [email protected] or call 314-615-JAIL (5245) and ask for the Medical Community Liaison, who will address their concerns and facilitate communication with family members.