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MCSO reports COVID19 outbreak within detention center

As stated in a “Press Release” earlier this week, we had a suspected exposure for an individual coming into our facility who tested positive for Covid19. Following that potential exposure, MCSO staff and I worked with the Macon County Health Department and our MCSO Detention Physician and Nurse to have all of our detention center staff and incarcerated inmates voluntarily tested. Only two inmates refused to be tested. These two inmates were immediately placed in quarantine as a precautionary measure. Both of those inmates will remain quarantined as specified by the Health Department and will continue to be closely monitored by MCSO medical and detention staff.

As of this morning we received confirmation from the Macon County Health Department that our Detention Center currently now has positive cases of covid19 in our facility. Today we received 19 positive results, 42 negative results. 22 tests that are classified as “pending”. All test conducted for MCSO employees that have been returned to this date have resulted as being negative as of this release. We are waiting for additional results for both inmates and employees. Those who have been tested are showing symptoms that range from having no current symptoms to mild symptoms such as nasal congestion, coughs and slightly elevated temperatures. All staff and inmates are being monitored on a routine basis.

In addition and as your Sheriff, I am limited as to what services I can choose to suspend even as a precautionary measure and even during a pandemic. One of those services is fingerprinting for Conceal Carry Permits (CCP) which takes staff to go hands on with individuals while fingerprinting. There is no acceptable reason that I can temporarily suspend this public service. Since I have been advised I cannot legally suspend such service, I am publicly requesting citizens who are wishing to apy and obtain their CCP to consider giving us a little time to get through our current situation and refrain from doing so temporarily. I am asking members of my community to support my staff and I by giving us at least the next 14 days to get through our current health crisis in our facility. I am truly concerned for the safety and health of everyone employed at the Macon County Sheriff’s Office as well as the inmates we are responsible for caring for. I am also concerned about those who would insist on this service and how we could potentially spread Covid19 to you or your family. Continuing to do business as usual will only put my staff, their families and anyone they may come in contact with at risk and I believe continuing this service could create an unnecessary health concerns. Anyone who comes into our facility requesting or insisting on these services will be informed about our current situation and asked to voluntarily consider waiting a few more days. As I said earlier, I must comply. Suspending a mandatory requirement could result in a legal action being initiated with a costly outcome to the citizens of Macon county. Just as with many agencies who provide services within our local government, there are services we provide daily that may not be as important during a crisis and we are asking for a little patience while we work to get through this.

Stay safe and remember there are plenty of vaccines still available if you or your family chooses to get vaccinated. I don’t support a mandate for the vaccine as I believe it is an individual’s right to make that decision and not the government. I encourage everyone to consult your local physician for medical advise and have an open and honest discussion about the vaccine. That’s exactly what I did… and that is why my wife and I are currently vaccinated.

Sheriff Robert L. Holland
Macon County

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