A detainee transferred last week from Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque to the Taos County jail has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local officials have confirmed.
Taos County issued a statement on Tuesday (Oct. 13) which says that the detainee was one of four brought from the facility on Oct. 8 and 9 for hearings in Taos District Court, but was the only one to test positive.
According to the the county, the positive detainee – whose age and gender have not been specified – is asymptomatic and was taken to Holy Cross Medical Center for further evaluation. The other three have been released.
The county says the jail has followed strict safety protocols since the pandemic began and tests every detainee who enters the facility. Jail employees are tested "periodically."
"The Taos County Adult Detention Facility personnel followed all their safety protocols," reads a press release from Anissa Arrambide, public information officer at the county. "Staff are wearing their PPE and continue to stay vigilant in their safety practices. Detention staff have sanitized the cell occupied by the detainees."
While the New Mexico Department of Health has relayed reports of positive cases at other correctional facilities elsewhere throughout the state, it had not reported a positive case at the Taos County jail as of Tuesday (Oct. 13).
Widespread speculation that correctional facilities pose high risks for spreading the virus has led attorneys throughout the state this year to seek pretrial release for men and women facing charges and even transfers to house arrest for convicts with other conditions that make them especially vulnerable to infection.
The Department of Health reported the total coronavirus cases as of Oct. 13 among people held by the New Mexico Corrections Department at the following facilities:
- Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 38
- Lea County Correctional Facility: 75
- Northeast New Mexico Correctional Facility in Union County: 5
- Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1
- Otero County Prison Facility: 472
- Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1
- Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Doña Ana County: 1
- Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Cibola County: 4