Clay County sheriff orders precautionary 10-day lockdown at jail

Tracking Coronavirus

LIBERTY, Mo. — The threat of the delta variant mixed with concern about accurate testing supplies is causing a 10-day quarantine and lockdown at the Clay County Detention Center.

The lock down begins Wednesday at 10 p.m.

In addition, all employees who have contact with inmates are now required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The Clay County Sheriff’s office said there isn’t a COVID-19 outbreak at the detention center. Sheriff Will Akin said he ordered the precaution because of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the metro, the delta variant, reduced space at hospitals, and what the office calls the “inability to obtain reliable COVID tests for symptomatic inmates.”

“Even a 0.0001% inaccuracy on the tests is too much of a risk to gamble with in an enclosed
environment like our jail,” Akin said.

Originally, the Sheriff’s office said inmates would be required to remain in their cells 23 hours a day for the duration of the lockdown. That was modified Wednesday evening. Inmates are now allowed to move to their assigned day rooms and aren’t being confined to their cells unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. Visitors are not allowed during this time, but will be able to add to inmates’ accounts by dropping off money in the lobby.

The sheriff’s office said it’s working with the court and prosecutor to determine if there are inmates who can be safely released during the lockdown. Inmates awaiting trial for serious or violent offenses will not be eligible for release, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Clay County Detention Center closed to municipal arrests Tuesday, but plans to continue to accept suspects arrested for serious and violent crimes.

It’s also working to vaccinate 17 of the 230 inmates who have requested a shot.

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