Seven adults in custody test positive for COVID-19, infectious disease protocols implemented

December 17, 2020

This post was updated Dec. 18 to include the most recent test results.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our workforce, adults in custody and those we serve. As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, the Sheriff’s Office was notified on Dec. 16, 2020, that an individual in-custody tested positive for COVID-19. Following the notification, the Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with Corrections Health, immediately acted by implementing pre-planned infectious disease protocols. These actions include:

  • Quarantine and restricting movement in/out for all adults in custody in the housing unit and limiting access to the unit to only essential medical personnel. 

  • Testing of all adults in custody in the housing unit for COVID-19.

  • Coordinate contact tracing with Public Health. (Corrections Health review of patient case history and information. The Sheriff’s Office assessment of personnel movement involving the individual during the 48 hours leading up to the positive notification.)

  • Meet with health partners to review and analyze potential exposure and coordinate next steps.

After testing all adults in custody in the specific housing unit, Corrections Health notified the Sheriff’s Office of three additional individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. Three others were diagnosed with the flu. On Dec. 18, three other adults in custody also tested positive for COVID-19. Additional details cannot be shared about the individuals’ protected health information. Public Health will be notifying those individuals who meet exposure criteria. The Sheriff’s Office is also notifying law enforcement and criminal justice system partners who may be affected.

The Sheriff's Office is working side-by-side with Public Health and Corrections Health as they monitor these individuals. We continue to take all recommended measures to best protect the health and safety of our members, adults in custody and the community. Sheriff’s Office and Corrections Health staff are familiar with managing infectious disease protocols due to the ever-present risk of spread of diseases and illnesses in congregate settings, including the annual influenza.

“Every day we are working with all agency partners to take preventative measures, such as, enhanced medical screenings, additional physical distancing, cleaning practices and reducing the jail population. Unfortunately as we see COVID-19 continue to spread in our community, positive cases are inevitable given that our facilities are a microcosm of the community,” Sheriff Mike Reese said. “We are continuing to follow guidelines set by the CDC, and state and local health partners to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities, while protecting the health and safety of our community and meeting the needs of our criminal justice system.”

To learn more about current health measures in place to reduce the spread and limit exposure of COVID-19 in our facilities and among our divisions, please visit our website.