For the second time in 18 months, the novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc at the Lincoln County Jail.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has reinstated preventative measures after an outbreak of the Delta variant of the virus inside the jail.
The first reported case of COVID-19 inside the jail came on July 28, and the measures were reintroduced after a second case was reported the next day, according to the LCSO.
Those precautions included restrictions on visitation, enhanced disinfecting practices, and the quarantining of the inmate population and corrections staff.
According to Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Harrell, around 20% of the incarcerated population has tested positive for the virus, though the COVID-19 vaccine has been made available on a voluntary basis for several months.
“These measures have proven effective to ensure the continuation of the essential public services, while protecting the health and safety of incarcerated persons, staff and visitors during this ongoing pandemic,” Harrell said.
Not everyone was happy about the sudden change at the jail. Felicia Walraven of Troy has a daughter who is an inmate at the facility – and was unable to contact her for weeks.
Walraven said her daughter has had several court dates changed due to the outbreak, and the lobby restrictions shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.
“(The LCSO) should be cleaning the lobby anyway,” she said. “You can’t really touch anything anyway.
“Also, they have the technology, so why couldn’t they bring (my daughter) to court.”
In May of last year, 34 inmates tested positive for the virus, as well as two LCSO deputies and three corrections officers. No deaths were associated with the outbreak at that time.
Walraven said, even though her daughter is fully vaccinated, the LCSO should have learned from the 2020 events.
“After what happened then, they should have done a better job to prevent this from happening again,” she said.