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Sedgwick County Jail Worker Tests Positive For COVID-19

Nadya Faulx
KMUW/File photo

An employee at the Sedgwick County jail has tested positive for COVID-19.

Sheriff Jeff Easter said Thursday that the jail deputy is at home recovering. The deputy became ill last week and tested positive on Tuesday.

Easter says a second employee is experiencing symptoms and is now being tested for COVID-19.

“We have had anxiety within the Sheriff’s Office since these two cases have arisen," Easter said. "It’s the … same anxiety as citizens have at home or work. It’s no different here."

He said no jail inmate has tested positive for the virus.

Easter said the department is sanitizing work areas and reminding employees to wash their hands “on a nonstop basis.”

He said deputies in the field are putting on protective gear when answering calls that might be COVID-19 related.

Easter says the Sheriff’s Office is still making arrests.

Last month, the jail released about 200 inmates to reduce the jail’s population.

Easter says the jail lobby remains closed to the public and visitation with inmates is being done remotely as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week the Lansing Correctional Facility reported three of its workers had tested positive for COVID-19. Inmates who had contact with the workers have been moved to medical isolation and were being monitored for symptoms.

Sedgwick County has 79 known cases of COVID-19. Statewide, there are 552 confirmed cases as of Thursday afternoon.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is a board member of the Public Media Journalists Association, serving as small station representative, a volunteer coach for League 42 and an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.