First L.A. County inmate, 4 staff members test positive for COVID-19

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Inmates are seen at a Los Angeles County jail in this undated photo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Inmates are seen at a Los Angeles County jail in this undated photo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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An inmate and four people who work in the Los Angeles County jails have tested positive for the coronavirus infection, heightening fears that the disease could spread quickly in the overcrowded jail system.

The inmate, who was at Twin Towers Correctional Facility, displayed symptoms Thursday and was moved to the jail’s Correctional Treatment Center for isolation, Correctional Health Director Jackie Clark said. His test came back positive over the weekend, and he is now at L.A. County-USC Medical Center.

The inmate had been held in a one-man cell in a “high observation housing” area reserved for mentally ill inmates. About 16 others in that housing area were being quarantined, with staff monitoring them regularly with temperature checks, Clark said. She added that classes and therapy sessions for that group were halted about three weeks ago to minimize the risk of exposure.

“We don’t have a huge concern for the 16 that’s in quarantine,” she said. Clark said it’s likely the inmate was exposed in the jail, where he’s been housed since about December. Officials are working to track his movements and determine exactly where he was exposed and by whom.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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