The Madison County Detention Center in Anderson was built in 1984 with a capacity of 207. Staff file photo by Don Knight
The Madison County Detention Center in Anderson was built in 1984 with a capacity of 207. Staff file photo by Don Knight
ANDERSON — Almost 50% of the inmates at the Madison County Jail are either in isolation or quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 249 inmates at the jail Tuesday, 51 were in isolation and 73 in quarantine for 14 days, according to Sheriff Scott Mellinger.

“We are at a very critical stage in terms of space,” he said.

Mellinger said two trusties tested positive for the coronavirus, which means all 14 trusties are in isolation and unable to work in the kitchen or clean the jail.

He said the Madison County Community Corrections came up with a creative idea to move six inmates to the jail for two weeks to work as trusties in the jail.

Mellinger said it will be another 10 days before the quarantine and isolation are lifted.

All inmates who are brought to the jail have been kept in isolation as a precaution during the pandemic.

The sheriff said the community corrections inmates are being housed in a temporary dormitory that was previously used as the indoor recreation area.

Because of the impact on the trusties, Mellinger said some of the correctional officers have been reassigned to perform new duties.

“The staff has picked up some of the duties,” he said.

The jail is still facing a staffing shortage.

He said the positive cases were being housed in four different cell blocks, which meant there was contact with up to 50 other inmates.

“We’ve been lucky,” Mellinger said of the pandemic’s impact on jail operations.

Currently, he said, six cell blocks are being used for quarantine.

“We’re doing well in terms of staff when it comes to the virus,” Mellinger said.

He said county officials are looking at the potential of starting to vaccine inmates on a voluntary basis.

“We’re going to make that offer to them,” Mellinger said.
© 2021 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.