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16 staff members at Seminole County jail test positive for coronavirus

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The John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford houses 658 inmates. Image: Google Maps

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office is responding to a coronavirus outbreak at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.

It came to light when a staff member had symptoms and tested positive for the virus.

The county jail in Sanford tested all 45 inmates in that section — 42 tested positive.

Most are asymptomatic.

A second housing unit is being tested after an inmate was positive. Those results are pending.

Now sheriff’s spokesman Bob Kealing says 16 staff members have tested positive, too.

“The safety of both our staff and our inmate population is obviously our highest priority,” Kealing said. “And that’s why we’re taking this really sophisticated, multi-pronged approach to going in and eradicating the presence of this virus.”

New inmates are also getting tested as they arrive. If they refuse, they’re placed in a 14-day quarantine.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.