Inquiry Into Jail Outbreak Announced

York County Manager Gregory Zinser announced on Thursday, September 3 that there will be an inquiry by an independent third party into the circumstances that led to the outbreak of Covid-19 among staff and inmates at the York County Jail. The decision as to who will lead the inquiry has not been finalized, but he expected to be able to provide that information “within a day or two.”

In a Zoom call with reporters, Mr. Zinser confirmed that Covid-19 safety protocols at the jail prior to the outbreak called for the wearing of face coverings. The inquiry will look into whether or not protocols were followed, and if not, why not.

He stated that there are currently about 106 inmates being housed at the jail, which can hold 250 inmates. An arrangement is being worked out with Cumberland County to take new admissions there for the duration of the outbreak. Over the past weekend, there were three new admissions to York County, for crimes which he categorized as “of a severe nature.”

Inmates who have tested positive are being housed in a unit specially converted for them, in single cells. Some additional nursing staff has been brought in to the facility to care for them. No inmates are sick enough to require hospital care, he reported. Other inmates who were close contacts of the positive cases are housed in a separate unit, with social distancing being strongly enforced.

72 cases of Covid-19 are attributed to the jail outbreak, which began on August 19 with an employee who had attended the wedding in Millinocket that is the center of a larger outbreak. The jail’s total includes 46 inmates, 16 corrections officers, 2 other staff members, and 1 outside vendor. The remaining 7 cases are close contacts of the officers and staff. Two corrections officers have already completed their quarantine and have returned to work.