Bailey County combats COVID-19 outbreak at county jail - FOX34 Lubbock

Bailey County combats COVID-19 outbreak at county jail

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BAILEY COUNTY, Texas -

At first, it seemed the virus had missed Bailey County. It wasn't until early May when 2 workers at Track Dairy, Located off Highway 84,  tested positive that the virus began to spread. 

Since then its cases have jumped.


"There's a lot of family gatherings, and cookouts and I think that has a big to-do with it. People are just tired of being at home," County Judge Sherri Harrison said. 

"We've fought this for a long time, and wanted to keep it out of community. It's just a nasty virus," Sheriff Richard Wills said.


An outbreak at the Bailey County Jail makes up more than half of the current 63 active cases.  

9 employees and 36 inmates have tested positive since June 12th. 

"The jail is so confined that there's no open air to be moved around, and so we're constantly trying to clean and disinfect," Sheriff Wills said. 

 

 

More than half of all of Bailey County's COVD-19 cases can be traced back to the county jail


The jail has separated the infected inmates, and is now working with limited staff to contain the spread. 

Surrounding counties, like Lamb, Castro and Palmer are helping take any new inmates, while the jail remains on lockdown. 


"We're doing everything we can to eliminate this as quickly as possible," Wills said. 


Although the county does not have a public health department, 3 EMS team members are undertaking the task of contact tracing, and keeping quarantined people in their homes until it's safe to leave again. 


'We know our people, we know the resources that are here, let's do this," EMS director Kevin Baize said. 


For counties with fewer resources the State Health department usually handles contact tracing. 


Baize saw his neighbors, needed someone they trusted. 

"We know the state is overwhelmed. We're here for you. If we can help you get groceries delivered to your house, things like that to help you stay in, that's what we're doing," Baize said. 


Plans are still on for July 4th, although things will be a bit different this year.


"We usually have a big gathering at the courthouse with vendors. The chamber has decided we're still going to have a parade, as usual, but we're going to ask people to be in their vehicles," Harrison explained. 

The parade route will also be longer to promote social distancing. and vendors will be spaced out.

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