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Baltimore County Department of Corrections inmate tests positive for coronavirus

An inmate in the Baltimore County Department of Corrections has tested positive for the coronavirus, county officials announced Friday.

The inmate is a black man in his 50s and is in quarantine, though he is not yet exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 57 confirmed cases of the virus in the Maryland prison system.

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“Ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of both our professional and dedicated staff and all those at our detention center continues to be our top priority as we navigate this global pandemic,” Baltimore County Department of Corrections Director Gail M. Watts said in a statement. “We will continue to follow the recommendations of federal, state, and local health officials and aggressively adopt public health best practices as we respond to this rapidly evolving crisis.”

The Baltimore County Department of Corrections and Department of Health are coordinating to conduct a trace investigation to determine which staff or inmates might have had contact with the infected inmate, who will be monitored in the medical unit for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended period. His housing unit is also under a quarantine protocol, the department said.

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The department said it has followed CDC guidelines for cleaning facilities and use of personal protective equipment. It’s also worked to ensure that employees feeling ill are sent home, while suspending family and friend visitation for inmates.

Of the 57 cases in the state prison system reported Wednesday, 10 were inmates. Maryland also began reporting its overall coronavirus data by race this week. Through Thursday’s case total, 49% of those infected whose race was known were black, though African Americans represent only 30% of Maryland’s overall population, according to U.S. Census data.

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