Two former inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, the first confirmed cases in King County correctional facilities.
The Health and Medical Area Command, operated by Public Health – Seattle & King County, is working to locate both former inmates and connect them with all available resources and, if needed, safe places to quarantine, according to a Tuesday news release from the county Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.
Both inmates were booked at the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle and were transferred to the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent where they were placed in droplet precaution, a standard practice recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of infectious diseases through fluids by coughing and sneezing.
The first inmate was booked for driving under the influence at about 1 a.m. Friday, April 17, and was released by the court at about 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18. The second inmate was booked for driving under the influence at about 3 a.m. Saturday, April 18, and was released by the court at about 7 p.m. Monday, April 20.
The Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention has completed 62 tests for adults since the start of the pandemic. The department has tested one youth at the Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle where no residents have tested positive.
Under the direction of King County Executive Dow Constantine, the department has worked with each partner in the criminal justice system – courts, public defenders, prosecutors, and law enforcement – to quickly and safely decrease the inmate population by about 30 percent since mid-March.
There are about 1,300 adults in custody on Tuesday, down from 1,899 on March 13. The population at the Children and Family Justice Center is 33, down from 43, which is low enough to provide each youth with their own dorm where staff can provide individualized care.
The department updates a dashboard each weekday that shows test results, daily populations and answers to frequently asked questions.
Adults who are considered most vulnerable to severe complications to COVID-19 – 60 and older with underlying health conditions – are cared for at designated housing unit at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.