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Facebook video shows Wayne County jail inmates saying they aren't being tested for COVID-19

County officials dispute inmate claims
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Posted at 12:42 PM, Apr 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 22:43:10-04

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Sheriff's Office is launching an investigation Saturday after two videos surfaced of Wayne County inmates saying they have not been properly tested for COVID-19.

One of the videos appears to be a cell phone recording showing several inmates saying they have not received masks, and instead have to use clothing and towels as protective gear. This second video was shared on Facebook Friday.

The first was posted to YouTube on Thursday, April 9.

7 Action News reached out the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for comment on the inmates' claims.

A Sheriff's Office spokesperson released this response to the first video:

Yes. We have five inmates in quarantine right now. Those who are showing symptoms we have a protocol where they are isolated for 72 hours. From there, they are sent to jail medical for further evaluation. All mask have been distributed to every inmate as of the day before yesterday.

The Sheriff's Office says they are now investigating the situation as a result of the release of the second video.

The inmates will go into a 72-hour lockdown with one hour of free time. They will be monitored by nursing staff, and if any inmates show symptoms, they will go into a 14-day lockdown for assessment, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Ray Washington posted a message to Facebook disputing claims made by the inmates. Washington says surgical masks have been provided to all inmates.

"Additionally, we have a linen and clothing schedule that is strictly being adhered to as well as documented exchanged times and dates to insure all inmates are given the attention to hygiene concerns especially during this pandemic," the Deputy Chief wrote. "Furthermore all 3 Wayne County Jails have distributed Surgical Masks to the entire Inmate Population and they are required to wear them for their own safety as well as others."

Wayne County Chief of Jails Robert Dunlap also released a statement disputing inmate claims:

“Every inmate in our jail has been issued surgical mask, and any inmate that exhibit symptoms of the COVID19 are isolated quarantine and tested. We currently has 6 such inmates under Quarantine isolation.
An investigation of the inmates in the video revealed that none of them submitted any medical complaint or grievance specific to any of the allegations they made on the video chat, which has been made possible by the Wayne County Sheriff’s and our Jail communications vendor at no cost the inmate or family during this time.
Nevertheless, although unfounded the allegations are taken seriously and all inmates in the video have reassessed and processed in accordance with the WCSO COVID19 Protocols as consistent with the guidelines and recommendations of both the CDC and the MDOC.”

Here are a few COVID-19 numbers the Office released regarding the Wayne County jail. These are the numbers as of 11 a.m. Friday:

  • # of employees tested positive for COVID-19: 114
  • # of Inmates tested positive : 1 (he has been quarantined for 6 days at jail division 3 was tested by jail medical)
  • # of inmates housed: 930
  • # of inmates on tether: 766

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