Officials cautiously optimistic about Inverness Jail testing results

March 2, 2021

Adults in custody at Inverness Jail who have been undergoing regular repeated testing for COVID-19 all tested negative this week. 

Officials are cautiously optimistic that the negative results across multiple dorms signal a turning point in an outbreak that has infected 197 adults in custody and more than 31 staff and/or household members since December.

Corrections Health is continuing to work closely with Multnomah County Public Health and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office to monitor everyone affected. Most people were tested because they were exposed to someone with a positive test. Almost all who tested positive have had no or mild symptoms. One person was briefly hospitalized, and no one has died.

The Multnomah County Sheriff Office along with it’s criminal justice partners enacted policy shifts in mid-February to slow new bookings and further utilize alternatives to incarceration. These mitigating factors were part of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office's efforts to pause the movement of adults in custody within the corrections settings. 

Inverness Jail is one of two Multnomah County correctional facilities. Most people at Inverness Jail live in large open dormitories and share dining and shower facilities. The County has consulted with the Oregon Health Authority and continues to emphasize regular testing, deep cleaning, proper mask wearing, hand hygiene and careful monitoring of housing cohorts to try to slow the spread.

Congregate settings like Inverness Jail, especially for adults who are older or have underlying health conditions, are considered at higher risk for disease spread and illness. The County has advocated for prioritizing those in custody in vaccine distribution and last month, a federal judge ordered the state to begin offering vaccines to all those in state custody.

At least 270 adults in custody at Inverness Jail have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination efforts will begin shortly at the second county corrections facility, the Multnomah County Detention Center.