Orangeburg County reports six inmates have tested positive for coronavirus this week and are now in quarantine with mild symptoms under medical supervision. Contact tracing is in progress.
The Orangeburg County Detention Center’s staff has completed a symptom and temperature check of all incarcerated individuals in the housing unit where the individuals were previously housed.
A mass-testing of inmates is currently being performed, even if the inmates exhibit no COVID-19 symptoms.
These six positive cases mark the first time COVID-19 has been found at the jail since the pandemic began in early 2020.
The S.C. Department of Corrections and other statewide detention facilities have been battling COVID-19 outbreaks since early 2020.
The Orangeburg jail follows the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s recommendations as well as those from the federal Centers for Disease Control, according to the county.
New inmates are required to complete a minimum 21-day quarantine period before being placed with the general population, where their vital signs are evaluated at least twice per day and are continuously monitored by the nursing staff.
Quarantined inmates have weekly physical exams performed by the detention center physician.
Before joining the general population, inmates are offered the COVID-19 test. Inmates are also provided a mask to use when leaving housing units and while in the quarantined area.
Inmates leaving the facility are given personal protective equipment to help mitigate any possible exposure.
Detention center employees are required to wear personal protective equipment while on duty.
Medical staff is in the process of testing staff, officers and medical personnel for COVID-19 once a week for the next four weeks, after which the frequency of monitoring via COVID-19 swabs will be reassessed.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to detention center employees. Rapid COVID-19 tests have been ordered through DHEC and are pending delivery.
In-person visitation remains suspended. Family members and loved ones can still write, make phone calls, or video chat with an inmate.