Coronavirus hits Sangamon County jail

Facility on lockdown with no visitors allowed

The Sangamon County jail has been placed on lockdown due to an outbreak of covid 19 that has infected five employees and an inmate.

The outbreak was confirmed this afternoon, Sheriff Jack Campbell said. In addition to not allowing visitors in the jail, Campbell said he expects courtroom proceedings will be impacted, with heavier reliance on video arraignments and scheduling changes.

During the past seven months, about a dozen employees have tested positive, the sheriff said, but there have been no concentrations of infections as is the case now. The inmate who has tested positive already has been in isolation for 70 days, Campbell said. It’s not clear whether she was infected during a recent hospital visit or by jail staff or from some other source, he said.

In a press release, county spokesman Jeff Wilhite wrote that inmates have been wearing masks since July 31. Campbell said the jail has been isolating new arrivals for as long as 30 days to prevent coronavirus from spreading in the jail. Despite precautions, Campbell said he feared an outbreak would come.

“I have worried every day since I heard the word ‘covid,’ especially about this jail,” Campbell said. “We’re seven months into the pandemic. I almost just waited for this day.”

Contact Bruce Rushton at

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