YAKIMA -- As of Thursday morning, Chief of the Care and Custody Division of the Yakima County Department of Corrections Jeremy Welch confirmed at least 73 inmates have tested positive for covid-19.
Chief Welch tells Action News me they don't know for sure, but they think it is likely that a staff member probably first brought the virus into the jail.
The first inmate in the yakima county jail tested positive for coronavirus on June 15.
Three days later, the jail confirmed ten inmates had tested positive.
By June 25, 42 inmates were officially infected with the virus.
Just a few weeks ago, inmates were not required to wear masks.
Now, after the governor's mask order went into effect, Chief Welch says inmates are encouraged to wear masks inside their units and required to wear them if they leave their units for any reason.
The virus has spread to at least 17% of the inmate population.
"It has ran through us quite rapidly,” Chief Welch says. “We're still taking precautions. We are still limiting inmate movement as much as possible, with the exception of emergencies and legal matters, but yeah, it's, just as in the public it's, it is a difficult virus to control."
As part of the jail's effort to control the outbreak, Chief Welch says all 408 inmates have been tested.
As of Wednesday, 73 had tested positive, and he says 27 of them had recovered, leaving 46 active cases.
113 inmates had tested negative as of Wednesday, and more than 200 results were still pending.
Chief Welch says they hope to have the outbreak under control once they receive those pending results and are able to isolate inmates accordingly.