Editor’s note: WCPO does not ordinarily use anonymous sources. However, WCPO staff members use anonymous sources in rare circumstances where such sources are the only way to obtain information vital to the public good. WCPO staff members have vetted these sources and believe the information they provide to be accurate and in good faith.
LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. -- The mother of an inmate currently incarcerated at Dearborn County Jail wants to know what county and state officials are doing to keep her son safe after the county announced Monday that more than 10% of the prison's population has tested positive for COVID-19.
Sheriff Shane McHenry said 38 out of 288 inmates had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, up eight -- or roughly 3% -- from Monday's initial announcement. A week ago, the prison had zero positive cases.
The inmate's mother who spoke with WCPO did so on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions her son could face if his identity were revealed.
"How are they going to get this under control, because they don’t know how," she said.
She said her son claims there is not an adequate amount of cleaning, some guards are not wearing masks, and not everyone's being tested. She fears her son will eventually contract the virus.
"His bunkie has it. He had almost a 102 (degree) fever, and he was shaking real bad and was having other symptoms, and he tested positive," she told WCPO.
The jail has tested 97 out of 288 inmates so far, McHenry said.
"We knew this was inevitable," he said. "We're cleaning every day in areas as much as possible. We have two areas that have been affected. So far, we’ve been able to isolate to those two areas. We're doing daily temperature checks on those folks."
McHenry also said his jail staff are required to wear masks at all times while on shift in the prison facility.
"Just like anybody else, we know it’s there. We’re not trying to ignore. We’re not trying to hide behind it. We’ll address it and hit it head-on and make sure everybody tries to stay safe," he said.
Still, the inmate's mother fears the worst.
"This could get really serious if the whole jail gets this."