COVID-19 sweeps through Macomb County Jail, infecting more than a quarter of inmates


Macomb County Jail in Mount Clemens. - MACOMB COUNTY
  • Macomb County
  • Macomb County Jail in Mount Clemens.

The coronavirus has infected more than a quarter of Macomb County Jail’s 550 inmates, prompting the Sheriff’s Office to administer rapid tests to every new inmate entering lockup.

At least 30 jail employees have also tested positive for COVID-19.

The outbreak occurred on two floors of the jail in Mount Clemens. Of the 250 inmates on those floors, an astounding 243 tested positive, Sheriff Anthony Wickersham tells Metro Times.

“Most of them were asymptomatic, and we have quarantined and isolated those 243,” Wickersham, who tested positive for the coronavirus in November, says.

One inmate has been hospitalized.

It's unclear what caused the outbreak. Wickersham says the jail only had five COVID-19 cases between March and the end of October.

The 1,438-bed jail is far below capacity after hundreds of inmates were released as a preventive measure during the pandemic.

Since March, Wickersham says all new inmates have been quarantined for 14 days. In other jails around the country, health officials believe employees are unwittingly bringing the virus into the facilities.

In Michigan-run jails, nearly 14,000 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 89 have died. An additional 1,981 jail employees have tested positive and three have died.

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