Coronavirus: As Ada County Jail tests inmates, 68 people test positive for the virus

Coronavirus-confirmed healthcare workers can return to work without being testing negative
Posted at 11:53 AM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 13:53:15-04

This article was originally published byJacob Scholl and Ruth Brown of the Idaho Statesman.

The Ada County Jail now has 68 inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus after the sheriff’s office announced its first case last week.

Jail staff tested all 86 inmates in the dorm where the first case was reported, and two other inmates from other areas at the jail who reported symptoms,
according to the Ada County Sheriff’s blog. Those tests came back late Thursday, with a total of four positive tests out of the 88.

One of those positive tests was for an inmate who lived in a different dorm. All 168 inmates in that dorm were then tested — and 63 tests came back positive earlier this week.

The four inmates in the first dorm are now being quarantined in the jail’s health services unit, according to the sheriff’s office. The 63 inmates who tested positive in the other dorm are staying where they are and staff is doing what they can to separate those inmates from others. Every inmate in the jail has now been provided with face coverings – which they are supposed to wear at all times unless they are in their bunks.

In total, the jail has tested 293 inmates, and officials are waiting for the results of seven tests.

“All employees who have worked in those dorms over the last two weeks have consulted with the ACSO’s medical provider or their private physician on if they should be tested,” according to the sheriff’s blog. “Our agency is working closely with Central District Health on our response.”

Since the jail began taking precautions in March, staff has had two people who tested positive, but they were aware of the positive test before they went through booking, according to the blog. Those inmates were taken directly to health services.

“One was a transfer from Canyon County, who is no longer in our custody. The other is an inmate who has since tested negative twice since they were brought in,” the jail said.

As of Wednesday, the sheriff’s office has had six jail employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Four have since recovered and returned to work.

As of Thursday, Ada County Jail was holding 804 inmates. Total capacity for the jail is 1,116 people.


Idaho has a record 242 people hospitalized due to the coronavirus as of Wednesday, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The previous high, recorded on July 29, was 239 people hospitalized.

Of those hospitalized patients, 42 were admitted to intensive care units.

On Wednesday another Idaho county reported its first coronavirus-related death. The death of a Gem County woman in her 80s is the first death the county has seen. Two deaths were reported Wednesday in Ada County, bringing the county’s death total to 72, and a single death was found in Canyon County, which now has 43 reported deaths.

Overall, Idaho has 218 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began. Officials reported 93 of those deaths in July alone.

Idaho’s seven health districts around Idaho reported 430 new, confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday. The state’s total is now 21,354 confirmed cases.

Ada reported the most new cases, adding 116 to its total on Wednesday; the county now has 7,896 confirmed cases. Following behind was Canyon, which reported 68 new cases. Its total is now 4,972. Other counties reporting double-digit new cases on Wednesday include the following: Bannock (15 new cases), Bonner (11), Bonneville (33), Cassia (12), Jerome (13), Kootenai (47), Minidoka (11) and Twin Falls (36).

IDHW added 72 new “probable cases” to its total, which is now 1,439. The department also indicates that 8,207 people are considered recovered from the virus.

Coronavirus cases have been reported in nearly all of Idaho’s 44 counties: Ada 7,896, Adams 17, Bannock 362, Bear Lake 19, Benewah 49, Bingham 249, Blaine 560, Boise 32, Bonner 165, Bonneville 698, Boundary 37, Camas 1, Canyon 4,972, Caribou 28, Cassia 458, Clark 5, Clearwater 15, Custer 9, Elmore 194, Franklin 42, Fremont 61, Gem 148, Gooding 136, Idaho 29, Jefferson 137, Jerome 402, Kootenai 1,674, Latah 88, Lemhi 12, Lincoln 50, Madison 115, Minidoka 431, Nez Perce 121, Oneida 10, Owyhee 223, Payette 322, Power 53, Shoshone 76, Teton 61, Twin Falls 1,164, Valley 50 and Washington 183.

Community spread has been reported in the majority of Idaho counties: Ada, Bannock, Bear Lake, Benewah, Bingham, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Canyon, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Jefferson, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Oneida, Owyhee, Payette, Power, Shoshone, Teton, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington.