AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine county declared an emergency at its jail due to a COVID-19 outbreak and a lack of corrections officers.
About 300 inmates at Cumberland County Jail are in lockdown for all but an hour a day due to the outbreak. The county declared an emergency at the jail for the first time in its history last week, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Sheriff Kevin Joyce said Wednesday that the most recent round of testing showed seven staff members and nine inmates are positive for the coronavirus. About 40% of inmates are vaccinated, and the rate among corrections staff is 50%. Those numbers are both well below the state percentage of about 75% for eligible people.
Twenty-one corrections officers have resigned from the jail this year. It’s budgeted for 129 positions and about 60 are currently working.
County Commissioner James Cloutier has raised the idea of potentially temporarily closing the facility. The jail is not taking new inmates, who are being diverted to facilities elsewhere.
In other pandemic news in Maine:
The number of new cases of coronavirus in the state continued to trend upward.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 457.29 new cases per day on Sept. 21 to 591.86 new cases per day on Oct. 5. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has also risen over the past two weeks from 4.43 deaths per day on Sept. 21 to 6.14 deaths per day on Oct. 5.
The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.
Maine CDC said there have been more than 93,000 cases of the virus and 1,066 deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic.
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