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Hundreds of inmates released from Metro Detroit county jails amid coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Officials review cases

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DETROIT – Hundreds of inmates have been released from Metro Detroit county jails in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Officials have been reviewing the cases of inmates who would not be a danger to the public if released. Sentencing judges have the final say.

READ: County jails in Metro Detroit begin releasing some inmates

As of Wednesday, the Wayne County Jail has released 384 people, and 997 are still incarcerated. No inmates have tested positive for the virus, but 52 employees have it.

The Oakland County Jail population is down 152 since March 24. It had 1,079 inmates then. There are now 927 people behind bars. Officials said many of those people released were at the end of their sentences.

Six inmates at the Oakland County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19. Officials didn’t provide an exact number for how many employees have the illness, but it is less than 10. That number includes both civilian employees and sworn officers.

One inmate at the Macomb County Jail has tested positive, officials said. He has been isolated since Sunday, and officials learned he had the virus Wednesday. Officials didn’t say how many people have been released, but they did say the population continues to decrease. As of Wednesday, there are 540 inmates in a facility that can house 1,238.

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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