Summit County Jail has 41 confirmed COVID-19 cases, families concerned

Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 16, 2020

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — A mom, who isn’t using her name, says her son is in the Summit County jail with COVID-19.

"I blame the county jail because they’re not making sure these inmates have masks and they’re social distancing,” she said.

She said the jail wasn’t taking enough safety precautions. Her son has been locked up there since April.

“They didn’t receive a mask until December 2,” she said.

Her 19-year-old son, Dante Berry, who is serving three years for aggravated robbery, isn’t alone. After months of the Summit County Jail reporting no confirmed COVID-19 cases, the jail now has an outbreak.

There are 41 inmates with COVID-19, there were 42 Tuesday but one person has been released.

His mom said it was a while before her son even got tested.

"He started feeling sick, he started getting a sore throat. stuffy nose things like that so I called the county and I talked to the sheriff’s, I talked to the nurses,” she said.

Bill Holland, the inspector for the Summit County Jail, said the jail got its first confirmed case on December 8, but they aren’t sure how it happened.

"We did contact tracing, but it is very difficult to trace it back to patient zero if you will because of the amount of community spread,” said Holland.

Holland says since the outbreak, things have changed

"We are minimizing movements throughout the facility and outside of the facility,” he said. "We’re trying to utilize remote court appearances as much as possible, face to face interaction between inmates we’re limiting.”

Holland said in response to Berry’s mom complaining about her son not having a mask, since all inmates were quarantined for 14 days before joining the others and that method had been working for months, the jail wasn’t giving out masks until now.

"At that point, we didn’t have any positives and we were successful in what we were doing. In certain areas of the facility inmates were given masks they just weren’t distributed throughout the facility like they are now,” said Holland.

Berry’s mother says she wants more to be done.

"At the end of the day, he’s still human just like those other inmates are,” she said.

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