Several Weber Co. Jail Inmates Test Positive For COVID-19 For Second Time

Oct 21, 2020, 7:04 PM | Updated: 8:02 pm

OGDEN, Utah – Officials with the Weber County Jail are trying to figure out how 12 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time.

Corrections officers are treating it as an outbreak, but only one of the men has mild symptoms.

“We’re treating this as an outbreak, although we don’t feel that it is,” said Lt. Josh Marigoni with the Weber County Sheriff Department. “But we are just in an abundance of caution, we’re treating it as if it were.”

It started with one case on Oct. 10.

“We had an inmate that came down with some minor cold/flu symptoms, and we ran another COVID test on him,” Marigoni said. “The interesting thing is that this inmate was positive back in July as well, and hasn’t been out of the facility.”

He said the department traced back and tested 38 others who had been in contact with that inmate.

“Of that, 11 more individuals were positive again, all of them had been positive previously in our outbreak in June and July,” Marigoni said.

Lt. Josh Marigoni with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. (KSL-TV)

Now a Utah Department of Health lab is carefully studying both testing samples for all of those inmates. The results will likely be one of or a combination of these four scenarios:

  •      The inmates never overcame the virus.
  •      There were some false positives in the testing.
  •      The tests detected the dead virus in the inmates.
  •      Or — the least likely — the inmates somehow became infected twice.

Either way, there’s plenty of head-scratching right now. 

“I would say it’s absolutely confusing. You know, managing a pandemic inside of a correctional facility … it’s extremely difficult,” Marigoni said. “It’s very confusing when you have people that have been positive before, and we’re unsure of whether this is a new strain, whether it’s picked up the dead virus. We don’t know.”

According to a UDOH spokesman, it is well-documented that people can carry the virus for weeks or even months.

The spokesman did not have an exact timeline for when the results are expected.

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Several Weber Co. Jail Inmates Test Positive For COVID-19 For Second Time