First Muskogee County Inmate Tests Positive For COVID-19, Officials Say

Friday, September 18th 2020, 1:51 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

An inmate at the Muskogee County Jail has tested positive for COVID-19, making it the prison's first positive case.

Until Friday, the Muskogee County Jail had a clean record with no positive cases of COVID-19. Muskogee Undersheriff Michael Mahan said today the sheriff's office faced an inevitable reality.

"It is our first case. We've had a lot of measures in place to do our best, to make sure we didn't have any cases make their way into our facility," Mahan said. "Inevitably, that ended up happening."

Mahan said the news came from a routine test on the inmate who was scheduled to be transferred to another facility. 

Mahan said he’s proud they've kept COVID-19 at bay this long. 

“I think we worked really hard with our judges here, we worked hard with the DA's office to try and screen out on prisoners that are considered non-violent, misdemeanor type of offenses," Mahan said. "We’ve also done a lot of particular type of screening: everybody gets their temperature taken, and there’s a certain set of questions that are answered before anybody can go into the facility."

The jail currently sits under capacity, and more than half of the inmates are federal inmates affected by the Supreme Court McGirt decision. 

Muskogee County DIstrict Attorney Orville Loge said many of his cases have resulted in inmates being transferred out of the county jail. 

“We’ve had some state prosecutions that involved McGirt but of course that is due to cases pending at the time, or the cases that are dismissed and they are then transferred to tribal custody. So that’s helped the issue at the jail,” said Loge. 

Mahan said the positive inmate was transferred out of the jail. Staff are now testing other inmates and decontaminating the entire jail. 

The Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office said if they do start getting more state and federal inmates, they’ll move some inmates other facilities in the area.