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A coronavirus outbreak at the Kane County jail accounts for nearly 70% of cases in the county

Of the 176 inmates at the jail, 51 have tested positive since the beginning of February.

FILE - This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The prickly orb is on every news and medical site. It's all over TV and on flyers for COVID car cleaning. (CDC via AP, File)

Nearly 30% of people who are in the Kane County jail have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the sheriff’s office.

It’s the first COVID-19 outbreak at the rural county jail since the pandemic began nearly a year ago, and has contributed to higher than usual positive cases for the county as a whole.

“The Kane County jail was one of the last facilities in the state to remain COVID-free,” Kane County Sheriff Alan Alldredge wrote in a news release. “However, despite our rigid safety protocols, on February 2, 2021, we had our first positive test within the inmate population.”

The sheriff’s office reported that of the 176 inmates at the jail, 51 inmates have tested positive since the beginning of the month.

Alldredge wrote that most of the inmates who have tested positive are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

This outbreak accounts for nearly 70% of all of the positive cases that have been reported out of Kane County as of Friday. The sheriff said he expects that number to grow as officials continue mass testing inmates.

Several Utah jail facilities have had COVID-19 outbreaks over the last year, and at the two Utah prison facilities, 12 people have died after testing positive for the virus.

Case numbers exploded at the Utah State Prison last November among the men’s units. An outbreak was reported in the women’s facility several weeks ago.

Some inmates, including those at the prison who are over the age of 70, have been able to be vaccinated recently. That’s expected to expand over the next few months.

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