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Seven inmates and an employee test positive for COVID-19


FARMINGTON — The first cases of COVID-19 have been detected at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center with male and female detainees and a contract employee testing positive for the coronavirus.

The adult detention center had eight positive tests between four male and three female detainees and a contract employee, according to a May 20 San Juan County press release.

The employee is described as a contract staffer who only worked as needed as a relief worker.

"It's extremely important for the county to protect staff and detainees in our custody," San Juan County Spokesman Devin Neeley told The Daily Times.

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A total of 275 detainees and 186 staffers at the county jail have been tested.

The San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center has no positive cases of the coronavirus amongst its detainees and staff.

There have been no positive cases for the San Juan County Alternative Sentencing Department.

Detainees and staff who had contact with the detainees who tested positive are being monitored.

The New Mexico Department of Health will contact all detainees who have been released that had first or second-degree exposure to the positive cases.

The county has taken efforts to decrease the number of detainees housed in the county jail.

San Juan County CEO Mike Stark previously told The Daily Times that they had 298 detainees as of April 20 in the jail, a drop from the average of about 548 detainees.

Detainees presenting symptoms are isolated in jail cells with reverse airflow technology to limit the spread of the coronavirus and are provided with a mask.

The state health department will provide testing capacity for all detainees entering the adult and juvenile detention centers along with the alternative sentencing program.

Detainees in each facility can share their medical information with family as jail staff are unable to share such information due to HIPAA, Neeley said.  

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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