Police & Fire

23 test positive in new COVID outbreak at the Penobscot County Jail

By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News Staff

Nearly two dozen staff and inmates at the Penobscot County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19, Sheriff Troy Morton said Tuesday.

About half of the 12 inmates and 11 staff who tested positive in the past week were fully vaccinated, Morton told county commissioners. One has had the coronavirus booster shot, he said. 

The sheriff also said that five staff members were unable to work, as they had to quarantine because of close contact with infected individuals.

The jail experienced two outbreaks in the spring. The first was in March when the jail population was just over 100, according to the sheriff.

The population Tuesday in the facility licensed to hold 157 inmates was 193 with another 50 boarded out to other facilities and 185 released on pretrial services contracts.

“This is much more difficult to manage due to the number of inmates in the facility,” he said.

Morton also said that an outbreak at the jail was not surprising given the large number of cases reported in Penobscot County last month.

The outbreak has kept nine inmates who should have been transferred to the custody of the Maine Department of Corrections from being moved. 

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the outbreak at the jail, according to the agency’s spokesman Robert Long.

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