Mohave County Jail officials remain cautiously optimistic this week, after 19 inmates were quarantined after a coronavirus outbreak at the facility.
According to Jail Capt. Robert Volbracht, the first case of the most recent outbreak was reported Nov. 5, followed by 18 more cases this month in the same housing unit.
Those inmates are now no longer quarantined, Volbracht said on Thursday. And as testing at the facility continues, the percentage of inmates positive for the coronavirus is also decreasing.
“I believe that what we are seeing is typical for congregate living situations such as a jail,” Volbracht said. “We are seeing, to a smaller extent, what many jails across the country have been dealing with throughout the pandemic. It appears this is becoming part of jail operations despite our tireless efforts to thwart it.”
Earlier this week, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved a budget increase of $250,000 to the sheriff’s office to absorb the growing cost of overtime pay for county detention officers. That overtime became a necessity this year, according to statements by Sheriff Doug Schuster last week, due to the impact of coronavirus-related absences by detention officers at the facility.
Of the jail’s staff – which includes 94 detention officers – 46 have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Oct. 30, according to reporting last month by the Kingman Daily Miner. Among those officers was detention officer Anthony Nicoletti, who died on Oct. 11 due to complications from the coronavirus.