A Maine county declared an emergency at its jail due to a COVID-19 outbreak and a lack of corrections officers.
About 300 inmates at Cumberland County Jail are in lockdown for all but an hour a day due to the outbreak. The county declared an emergency at the jail for the first time in its history last week, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Sheriff Kevin Joyce said Wednesday that the most recent round of testing showed seven staff members and nine inmates are positive for the coronavirus. About 40 percent of inmates are vaccinated, and the rate among corrections staff is 50 percent. Those numbers are both well below the state percentage of about 75 percent for eligible people.
Twenty-one corrections officers have resigned from the jail this year. It’s budgeted for 129 positions and about 60 are currently working.
County Commissioner James Cloutier has raised the idea of potentially temporarily closing the facility. The jail is not taking new inmates, who are being diverted to facilities elsewhere.