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State prison won’t take offenders from Salt Lake County Jail, where at least 6 inmates have coronavirus

By Annie Knox, KSL | Posted - Apr. 8, 2020 at 8:33 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Prison is no longer accepting offenders from the Salt Lake County Jail, the only jail in Utah to publicly confirm cases of coronavirus in inmates.

Defendants from other counties, however, are still being brought to the prison to start serving their sentences there, said Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kaitlin Felsted. She did not respond to further questions about when the policy began and whether it has an end date.

As of Tuesday, six Salt Lake County Jail inmates had coronavirus, and seven jail employees tested positive for COVID-19, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said. The jail has said it is equipped to handle the outbreak and is making sure the ill inmates are isolated from others.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office did not respond to messages left Wednesday.

In Utah County, no inmates have tested positive, although two sheriff’s deputies were confirmed to have the virus and were staying home, said Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

It was not immediately clear how many inmates in Salt Lake County, if any, have been barred from beginning their sentences in prison.

Representatives from Utah’s prison and jail systems have said they are taking steps to head off a devastating outbreak behind bars. Their efforts include releasing more than 200 inmates early, stocking up on masks, and boosting hygiene and hand-washing requirements.

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