Summit County Jails are Coronavirus Free, But the Sheriff's Department Isn't Immune to the Pandemic
The Summit County Sheriff’s Officehas nothad any COVID-19 cases in their jail system. But Sheriff Justin Martinez said the department has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martinez said they have a large staff, with over 100 employees, and when someone tests positive for COVID-19, it creates a big strain on the department.
"It really creates a hardship when I have one staff member who is tested positive and that staff has had interaction with his platoon," Martinez said. "I've got to basically isolate the entire platoon until I can ensure that those individuals that had contact are not infected."
But even though some staff members have gotten sick, none of the jail staff has been infected.
And, so far, no inmates in the Summit County jail have tested positive for COVID-19. Martinez said that's thanks to a couple of measures in place.
He says one of the measures is that all inmates are isolated when they’re brought to the station. Officers also will let people go under certain circumstances.
"We've turned away people that have come into the jail," he said. "Obviously, we can't turn everybody away. But if they come in for a misdemeanor, and they have a fever, we just automatically turn them away. We just can't take that risk in that population."
And Martinez said residents of Summit County are doing well with the mask mandate.
"They’ve embraced it because that's the social norm up here now," he said. "And so, you know, we haven't had as much recently. It's just everywhere you go people wearing masks, and it's very rare that they're not anymore."
He said the station occassionally gets calls about community members who refuse to wear masks. But he says the office is focusing on enforcement through education, rather than through tickets and fines.