COLORADO SPRINGS — The El Paso County jail in Colorado has reported 859 of the 1,246 inmates in custody Sunday tested positive for COVID-19 along with 66 employees, authorities said.
The El Paso County sheriff’s office said two of the employees were hospitalized over the weekend, The Gazette reported.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deborah Mynatt did not disclose the status of the two employees who were hospitalized or if they were civilian employees or deputies, citing privacy concerns.
Officials first reported the outbreak on Oct. 26 when eight inmates who were asymptomatic tested positive for COVID-19. Mynatt compared the outbreak to a “wildfire” and said officials are trying to control the virus from spreading more.
Sheriff’s office officials reported that 927 inmates and 78 staff members at the jail have tested positive overall since the pandemic began in March. Mynatt said 1,755 tests were administered to inmates and 782 were administered to employees since Monday, including people who have had more than one test.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
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