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Testing reveals 21 new cases of COVID-19 among SJ County Adult Detention Center detainees

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – There are now 118 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center after testing performed late last month confirmed there are 21 more new cases among detainees, county spokesperson Devin Neeley announced July 1. 

The facility had 314 detainees in custody as of July 1.

Two staff members also tested positive for the virus, and four tests have not come back yet, Neeley said.

Neeley told the Daily Times on July 1 that inmates who had tested negative previously were re-tested on June 29. 

He did not have the total number of detention center staff who have tested positive for the virus.

On June 27, the county stated there were 99 cases among detainees, which adds up to 120 cases — until releases are factored in.

"We have intakes and releases every day, so that indicates to me that two positives have been released," Neeley said via text.

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“Currently, there are 118 positive detainees at the SJCADC,” a press release issued by the county the evening of July 1 said. “Among positive cases, 117 are asymptomatic. Only one shows any symptoms.” 

The detention center’s staff will not release information about the health of individual detainees over the phone, the release said, due to federal laws that protect patient privacy.

“Detention Center Staff have been in close collaboration with the New Mexico Department of Health and San Juan County Office of Emergency Management to address the situation,” the release stated. “Going forward, detainees and staff who have tested negative will be retested twice a week.”

The New Mexico Department of Health will post positive results in daily counts on the same day they are released, the county release stated.

“All detainees who tested positive are quarantined, receiving medical care as needed, and closely monitored by medical staff,” the release stated. “Quarantined detainees will be tested weekly until they test negative. Any positive detention staff are put on leave until they meet Centers for Disease Control guidelines to return to work.”

The release stated that medical and detention staff have received personal protective equipment, and wearing of that gear is a requirement throughout the facility.

“Educational materials and face coverings are provided to detainees, and social distancing is enforced among detainees, as much as possible,” the release said. “Detainee areas are cleaned daily and provided with additional cleaning supplies.”

Contact John R. Moses at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses@daily-times.com.

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