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Linn County jail releasing inmates as COVID-19 cases rise in dormitory-style cells
CEDAR RAPIDS — Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in its dormitory-style cell blocks, the Linn County Correctional Center is releasing a number of inmates who have tested negative for the virus.
According to a news release from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, 18 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 19 inmates have had possible exposure to the virus and are in quarantine awaiting test results.
Most of the inmates who have tested positive are asymptomatic, Sheriff Brian Gardner said, but some are experiencing “slight fevers, chills and body aches.” All are being monitored and treated appropriately as necessary, he added.
The sheriff said several second-floor jail cell units have been quarantined because of possible exposures.
The jail is working with Linn County District Court to obtain court orders to release a number of inmates who are housed in these dormitory-style cells, and who have tested negative for COVID.
These releases will allow for more separation between the inmates who remain in the correctional center and are under quarantine, Gardner said.
“It’s important to understand that we are not merely letting these inmates walk out the door — the court is authorizing their releases through court orders,” Gardner told The Gazette in an email Friday. “These inmates being released should pose no additional risk to the public. This is very similar to the process for releases that we went through at the beginning of the pandemic. Its purpose is to temporarily create more distance between inmates in the dormitory-style cell blocks.”
Gardner said he did not yet have specifics as to how many inmates would be released, but noted they would be individuals who are serving time for lesser crimes and various misdemeanors.
The inmates being released will be required to contact the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Finance Division at (319) 892-6232 within 48 hours of release to reschedule any remaining jail time.
Gardner said it is up to the court to determine whether any of the individuals who are released will require supervision while on leave from the jail.
Remaining jail time will be rescheduled sometime after Nov. 1.
To minimize the spread of the virus, the jail continues to encourage all inmates to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and wear a face mask.
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