Update, March 19: A spokesperson for Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation tells New Times the arrestee bonded out of jail before the results of his COVID-19 test came back. Jail spokesperson Juan Diasgranados says the jail's health provider, Jackson Memorial Hospital, will alert the county if the test comes back positive.
The Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (MDCR) today announced an arrestee who traveled through the jail system this week is being evaluated for flu-like symptoms and has been tested for COVID-19.
MDCR did not say when or why the person was arrested. But jail spokesperson Juan Diasgranados tells New Times the detainee exhibited flu-like symptoms during the intake process and was transported to a local hospital and given a test for the novel coronavirus. The results of that test have not come back yet but are expected within 48 hours. In the meantime, the arrestee has been isolated in the jail system's medical unit. (The Miami Herald first reported the news earlier today.)
Diasgranados says the county has sent home multiple staff members who might have come into contact with the detainee. Other arrestees who came close to the person also are being monitored. MDCR says it is scrubbing down the intake area where the inmate was briefly housed.
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At the moment, no members of the Miami-Dade County criminal justice system have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. But this is not the court system's first COVID-19 scare today: This morning, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced online that a member of her staff was sent home after developing flu-like symptoms. That person also took a test for COVID-19 and is awaiting results.
One of my SAO team members who has recently worked on the 5th Floor South in the Graham Building, is self-isolating & seeking medical care for flu-like symptoms. At the time the employee brought this to our attention, the employee did not exhibit all 3 symptoms.— Kathy Rundle (@KathyFndzRundle) March 14, 2020
Other cities have not been so lucky. Earlier today, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that 11 detainees at the Delaware County Jail in suburban Philadelphia were being monitored after a senior maintenance worker in the facility tested positive for COVID-19.
Critics have warned in recent weeks that American jails are unsanitary and could be breeding grounds for the virus. Yesterday Florida suspended nearly all in-person trial proceedings in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, but many justice-reform advocates have questioned whether low-level or nonviolent offenders should be released from prison or jail to protect inmates and staffers from the virus.