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53 Inmates, 2 Staff at Cascade County Jail Have COVID-19

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said the two staff members were sent home and the infected inmates were isolated

BILLINGS – A Montana sheriff said Monday that 53 inmates and two staff members at a county jail have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The infections are at the Cascade County Detention Center in Great Falls. Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said the two staff members were sent home and the infected inmates were isolated, KFBB-TV reported.

The jail had almost 450 inmates as of last week.

Slaughter complained to state officials in June that more than three dozen Montana Department of Corrections inmates being kept at the jail were contributing to overcrowding at the facility, with some inmates sleeping on the floor and in communal spaces.

In April, a state judge accused the state Department of Corrections of “warehousing” inmates in Cascade County rather than moving them into rehabilitation programs and prisons.

The coronavirus outbreak there comes on the heels of more than 30 inmates at the Yellowstone County jail in Billings recently testing positive for COVID-19.