Inmate at Manatee County jail tested positive for coronavirus

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An inmate at the Manatee County jail has tested positive for the coronavirus.

During his arrest and while he was being booked into the jail on Thursday, the 60-year-old man said something to the arresting deputy and medical staff that prompted the man to be tested, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Randy Warren.

He was not showing any symptoms at the time, but he was placed in a pressurized cell in the medical unit at the jail.

On Thursday, the jail received the positive result. The inmate, whose name was not released for medical privacy reasons, is still not showing any symptoms, however.

“All jail staff wore masks, gloves, gowns and shields while in close proximity to the inmate,” Warren said.

Charged with violation of probation, the 60-year-old is scheduled to have a hearing on May 15 to resolve his case.

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Manatee County Jail Google

The violation of probation charges stem from a 2018 case for possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence and felony driving with a suspended license. He was placed on probation and told by his probation officer last June that he needed to report every month.

An arrest warrant was issued in January after he failed to check in with his probation officer in August, September, October, November and December. The violations also claim he moved from his last known residence, which was at the Salvation Army, without notifying his probation officer.

This is the first inmate to test positive at the Manatee County jail. Only one other inmate has been tested.

Because of the inability to social distance or isolate all inmates, jails and prisons can be petri dishes where the virus can spread quickly. Many jails and prisons across the state and country already have growing outbreaks.

Most court proceedings ceased weeks ago amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the public defender’s office and other local defense attorneys have been working with the state attorney’s office and courts to get as many people released from the jail on bond or by resolving their cases.

Jessica De Leon has been covering crime, courts and law enforcement for the Bradenton Herald since 2013. She has won numerous awards for her coverage including the Florida Press Club’s Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting in 2016 for her coverage into the death of 11-year-old Janiya Thomas.

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