Corrections officer at NJ jail tests positive for COVID-19

Seven other COs were told to self-quarantine and some inmates are being monitored by medical staff at the jail


By Rodrigo Torrejon
NJ Advance Media Group

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J — A Bergen County corrections officer who works at the Bergen County Jail tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting seven other officers he had contact with to self-quarantine.

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer, whose name was not released, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, said Derek Sands, spokesman for the office, which manages the jail.

The infected corrections officer went to his doctor after having symptoms and was tested there, said Sands. He was told to self-quarantine for 14 days. Although showing no symptoms, seven other corrections officers who had contact with the man who tested positive were also made to self-quarantine.

Medical staff at the jail, which also houses ICE detainees, were monitoring inmates who might have had contact with the officer. On average, about 250 ICE detainees and 300 county inmates are housed in the jail.

“We were able to determine that no detainees were exposed,” said Sands. “At this time no detainees or inmates have displayed any symptoms of COVID-19.”

The county jail has added safeguards like distributing hand sanitizer, soap and with bleach cleaner and a rotational out-of-cell schedule to promote social-distancing, said Sheriff Anthony Cureton. Additionally, inmates are screened to see if they had visited a county impacted by the virus, he said.

“The fact of the matter is, inmates and detainees are less likely to contract COVID-19 than the general public since the jail is a self-contained environment,” Cureton said in a statement.

Bergen County had 114 cases of the state’s 427 cases as of Wednesday, the most of any New Jersey county.

On Wednesday, a Fanwood police officer tested positive for coronavirus.

The officer lives outside of Union County and the Westfield Regional Health Department determined the officer’s interaction with the public was minimal, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr said.

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©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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