Tulsa Sheriff Credits Good Planning, Resources For Keeping COVID-19 Out Of Jail

Wednesday, September 16th 2020, 5:23 pm
By: Emory Bryan

TULSA, Okla. -

The Tulsa County Jail has managed to keep COVID-19 away from their inmates, even though people with the virus have been arrested and jailed.

The Sheriff takes credit for good planning, but also said they’ve been lucky with space to isolate people and the resources to test everyone as they come in.

There's a reason there's plenty of parking these days at the Tulsa County Jail. There are no visitors allowed for the 1,300 inmates and the only contact allowed is through video.

The 300 person staff is checked for symptoms and everyone has to wear a mask.

“Tulsa's jail population is down, and that's created space for new inmates to have individual cells,” Tulsa Sheriff Vic Regalado said. “They're isolated until their tests come back.”

Inmates with mental health problems get a rapid test to shorten the isolation time, with results in 15 minutes, and they're isolated in the relatively new mental health pods for further treatment.

Sheriff Regalado said the first tests took 5-7 days to get results and the quarantine was 14 days. Now the results come faster.

After 2,500 tests, Tulsa County has found 19 positive cases, and every one of them was quarantined and unable to spread it. The sheriff believes Tulsa County's testing and isolation plan is the only reason they've not had an outbreak.

"I think the key part to our success was early implementation of our COVID-19 response plan," Regalado said.

Of the 19 positives, 5 are still in the jail, and positive, but isolated. The others have recovered or bonded out.