COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Now that almost everyone is able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia, the COVID-19 vaccine may be making its way to Muscogee County Jail.
Since the start of 2021 Muscogee County Jail has been able to minimize the spread of COVID-19. According to the nursing staff only one inmate has tested positive in the last month, only the sixth case since January.
To help keep numbers as low as possible, inmates coming in for intake are screened for the virus. Inmates who test positive are placed in isolation immediately. Lieutenant Colonel John Darr said Sheriff Greg Countryman is dedicated to keeping inmates safe.
“I think it’s important for people in our community to realize that the health and welfare of the inmates are the responsibility of Sheriff Countryman,” Darr said. ” He takes that very seriously, I also want people in this community to know that we’re doing everything in Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the welfare of the people here.”
Darr said the Sheriff’s office is trying to get doses for inmates with long-term stays at the jail. The office has reached out to pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines.
“I talked to somebody this morning about hopefully being able to partner with them, coming in here and giving these individuals those shots. That we would consider who are here for a longer stay, ” Darr said.
The goal is to bring vaccines to the jail for any of the 900 inmates who want it. Darr said the sheriff’s office will survey the inmates to find out who wants a vaccine. Jail officials cannot force inmates to get the vaccine.
“I would hope that anybody in this line of work would strive for the welfare of the inmates because it’s very important,” Darr said.
Darr also wants those in the community to understand that it is important for inmates to have the same health care options and treatments as those outside the jail. Darr said people must realize it was never any intention of putting inmates before those in the community to receive the vaccine.
“There was never any talk here at the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office that I know of that was putting inmates’ welfare in front of those in our community,” Darr said ” We have some individuals here in our county jail that are older that might be more susceptible to catching COVID. So of course they would be a priority in the process,”
Darr says it will be very beneficial for the jail once inmates receive the vaccine, especially when it comes to housing inmates. Once the vaccine is available to inmates, it will also be made available to jail personnel.
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