13 inmates in Wayne County Jail have contracted COVID-19

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office has taken efforts to isolate and quarantine inmates at the county jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Out of 865 inmates in Wayne County jails, 13 were reported to have contracted COVID-19, the county said. 

Eight of the inmates who have tested positive are isolated in the jail facility downtown and the other five are in the William Dickerson Detention Facility in Hamtramck. 

"We've been sanitizing daily with bleach," said Pageant B. Atterberry, the director of communications at the Sheriff's Office. "We have our trustees who sanitize doorknobs, and hard surfaces, desks, and things like that every single day."

A sign in front of the Wayne County Jail - Division 3 William Dickerson Facility in Hamtramck.

Inmates are placed in individual cells instead of sharing cells. All inmates were given surgical mask that must be worn outside of their cells. Employees were given an N95 mask. 

Almost 200 employees are quarantined, 66 have returned to work and 177 have tested positive.

Two staff members from the Sheriff's Office have died from COVID-19 complications. Cmdr. Donafay Collins, 63, who worked in the division 2 jail downtown, had underlying health conditions and died on March 25. A 51-year-old deputy died from the virus on April 3. 

"(COVID) did have an impact... but we're not lacking as far as controlling the jails," Atterberry said. 

The jail population has decreased by almost 800 inmates since the beginning of March, when it was at 1,411. According to Sheriff Benny Napoleon, the only people left behind bars at the Wayne County Jail are those involved in felony cases or thought to pose a threat to public safety.

The reduction in population is a result of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in jails as well as fewer arrests being made, fewer warrants served and fewer court matters heard.