It was reported Tuesday that the Dutchess County Jail had effectively shut down due to a COVID surge among inmates and staff.

Poughkeepsie Journal reports that the last couple of weeks have seen an extreme uptick in cases with 65 inmates out of an inmate population of about 200 at Dutchess County Jail have COVID. Another 71 staff members out of around 200 are out of work because they tested positive for COVID or were exposed to it. This according to Jail Superintendent Therese M. Lee. It is not known how long the shutdown will last with Lee saying, "Every inmate will be tested for COVID and then we're going to figure out where to go from there."

"The lockdown is due to COVID spread among the inmates and nothing to do with the staff shortages," said Lee. During this lockdown, no visitors are allowed in the jail, and inmates are only allowed to leave their cells to take showers. "We're trying to slow the spread," she said.

Acting Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati said in a statement "inmate activities/movement through the facility are restricted to contain transmission, that included inmate work roles such as laundry and garbage. Additionally, visiting as well as education and programming from outside agencies /volunteers have been temporarily suspended for 30 days. Fortunately, most cases are mild and it is hoped that with activity and movement restricted, it can be quickly contained. We are grateful to all the Dutchess County Jail correction offers medical team and staff for their dedication and commitment. We appreciate their willingness to continually adjust as necessary to changing circumstances while ensuring the safety of the facility and all those within it."

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