3 Miami-Dade COs from 3 different jails test positive for COVID-19

The COs are at home recovering and those who had contact with them were asked to get tested or self-isolate


By Charles Rabin and David Ovalle
Miami Herald

MIAMI — A trio of corrections officers from three different Miami-Dade jails have tested positive for COVID-19, the county confirmed on Tuesday night.

Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Juan Diasgranados said the employees are at home recovering, and those who had contact with them were asked to get tested or self-isolate.

The three officers worked at the MetroWest Detention Center, the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and the Pre-Trial Detention Center, which is also known as the Dade County Jail, the county’s deputy mayor, Maurice Kemp, said on Tuesday night.

The positive tests came after corrections and police officers, as well as firefighters, began getting tested at a facility set up at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and at C.B. Smith Park in Broward County..

Kemp said one of the infected officers is a supervisor and all three had various contacts with inmates. “One guard had close contact with another employee,” Kemp said.

That other person, Kemp said, is at home and has been tested. None of the jails’ officers showed any symptoms, the deputy mayor said.

“This shows us that it’s a lot more prevalent in our community than we think,” Kemp said.

Law enforcement has been trying to limit the infection from striking inside Miami-Dade’s jails, where inmates and officers spend hours upon hours in close proximity. South Florida officers have been told to be passive in arresting people, especially for misdemeanor and non-violent crimes.

On Monday, the total jail population was at 3,548, down from about 4,000 a few weeks ago.

The close quarters had been a concern for Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez, who had been trying to get out as many of his office’s clients as possible.

“Our jailed clients are presumed innocent and there is no social distancing. With so many highly vulnerable, God forbid there’s an outbreak in the jail because for those awaiting trial it could become a death sentence,” Martinez said last week.

“The jail must have fewer inmates for maximum flexibility to isolate and quarantine infected individuals. Fewer inmates means better infection control and it’s much easier to cope with the jail staff shortages that are certain to come.”

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©2020 Miami Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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