Nelson County Detention Center

Nelson County Detention Center

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than 40 people at the Nelson County Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the county Judge-Executive Dean Watts.

Watts said 70 tests were administered beginning Saturday, 45 of which came back positive.

An inmate who was recently released from the jail tested positive for the virus just four days after his release, and health officials believe that individual was infectious while he was incarcerated.

"The inmate that was released tested positive four days after he left the jail, therefore the infection had already happened," Watts said.

Watts told WDRB News that nine of the people who tested positive at the jail are deputies, and one has been hospitalized. Watts said that deputy's condition "is improving."

As of Tuesday, Nelson County's jail currently houses 118 inmates, according to its website.

The jail facility is rather small, county officials say, and it makes it hard to stop the spread of an infectious disease like COVID-19. 

"Most of these little county jails that are 100-200 people," Watts said. "You have very few isolation beds. Most of these are dormitory type of jails."

Because of the size of Nelson County's jail and lack of isolation beds, more than 40 state prisoners will be transferred to other locations across the state. 

"We're going to move quite a few inmates to some other institutions that have isolation cells and places where they can separate the inmates and that will help us tremendously," Watts said.

A high number of the patients are asymptomatic, according to jail officials.

Watts said more testing is expected at the facility in the coming days.

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