Five county inmates test positive for COVID

Sheriff’s office working with Warner Hospital and health department


CLINTON — Five inmates at the DeWitt County Jail are being treated for Covid-19, said DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker.

Last week, some inmates complained of sore throats and other common cold symptoms. The jail physician was contacted and the inmates were given Tylenol, Walker said.  Two days later when symptoms were ongoing, rapid Covid tests were run on the inmates and five were positive.

Walker said finding the tests was a challenge for the department which initially could procure only eight tests.

Warner Hospital stepped up and tested all inmates who wanted to be tested as well as all staff, said Walke and only one staff member tested positive. That person was asymptomatic but has been off work and is quarantined at home.

“We are working with the health department and our medical provider and treating all inmates the same as any of us would be treated,” Walker said. “And, we are following all health department protocols.”

The DeWitt County Jail has been housing Champaign County inmates since last August when Covid numbers were lower, Walker said, And, he suspects transporting the inmates back and forth for court hearings may be how the most recent infections originated.

DeWitt County is paid as much as $40,000 per month to house the neighboring inmates, however, due to this most recent outbreak, Walker is making arrangements to return them to Champaign County.

“The money is nice but we are doing what we need to do to keep our people safe.”