Hart County Jail inmates, deputies test positive for COVID
Mary Beth Sallee
According to Hart County Jailer Israel Bergenson, a total of 69 inmates and 5 deputies have tested positive for COVID-19.
Bergenson stated that the entire jail population was administered COVID tests after three or four inmates showed mild symptoms of the disease.
“We put the three or four in the cell by themselves because they began showing symptoms,” Bergenson said.
The Jailer also stated that a majority of those inmates who tested positive were state inmates.
When asked how he believed COVID may have been brought into the jail, Bergenson said that there was no definite way to know for sure.
As for COVID procedures that are followed within the jail, Bergenson explained that all new incoming inmates are quarantined for 14 days before being allowed in with the already existing population. As of November 30, all new incoming inmates are also being tested for COVID in addition to being quarantined.
Bergenson also said that no inmates are allowed to participate in work release programs and no visitors are allowed in the jail, as has been the case since the pandemic began.
As for masks, all inmates are required to wear one when stepping out of their cells and into the hallway. However, it is not a requirement for the deputies working at the jail to do so.
“A majority (of deputies) wear masks, but it’s up to them to wear a mask,” Bergenson said.
As of press time, no inmates were hospitalized. All who tested positive are doing well and remain quarantined together at the jail.
“We’ve been fortunate that all have minor symptoms this far,” Bergenson said. “Some have headaches, light fever, stopped up noses. Nothing major…We’re just fortunate that everybody has been good right now. We’ve been going around checking on people all the time.”
As of November 30, all inmates who tested negative last week were administered COVID-19 tests again. Those results should be received by Thursday, December 3.
The deputies who tested positive are still quarantining at home. Despite being down five employees, Bergenson said the jail remains adequately staffed as there is not an overflowing inmate population.
“I just ask that everybody keeps everyone here in your prayers,” Bergenson said.
As of press time, the Hart County Jail has a total inmate population of 150.