Whiteside County inmate tests positive for COVID-19

MORRISON – A Whiteside County jail inmate is in medical isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.

The inmate, who has been in custody since March 12 and who showed “absolutely” no symptoms, was to be sent to another facility, and so per protocol, was tested by the Whiteside County Health Department, Sheriff John Booker said.

Last Wednesday, the test results came back positive, and the inmate, who is in his 20s to 30s, is in medical isolation for the required 14-day quarantine.

All 11 inmates in his cell block, the only ones who were exposed, also are quarantined for 2 weeks, Booker said.

The health department utilized the jail’s sally port to do drive-through testing of most of his correctional staff today, and by Monday, all correctional deputies will have been tested, in an effort to determine how an inmate who has been jailed 4 months was exposed, he said.

If those tests come back negative, “we’ll have to expand testing to see how it got into the jail,” Booker said, adding that all staff members wear masks when interacting with inmates.

This is the first known COVID-19 case in the jail since the pandemic began.