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14 additional inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Peoria County Jail

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PEO COUNTY JAIL

PEORIA (HOI) - As of Wednesday, 14 additional inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the inmate total to 22.

In four days, the number of Peoria County Jail inmates with COVID-19 has tripled.

Getting this under control is developing, as the Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell says he can only release limited information for now and families of inmates share fears about the health of their loved ones.

"They're closed in, and they're not getting the type of medical attention like people out here with COVID. I think they should have a way to transport them to the hospital," said Tonia Harris.

Harris is the mother of an inmate in the Peoria County Jail. She says her son called her Wednesday, confirming he tested positive for COVID-19. Harris says she assumed once one inmate tested positive, it would quickly spread to others.

"Some of them don't even have money to call their family to let them know that they have COVID. If a loved one calls out there, they can't give that information out and it's frustrating," said Harris.

On July 10, we learned two jail employees had tested positive. Last Saturday, July 18, eight inmates had tested positive. Now, Wednesday, Sheriff Asbell said 14 more had also tested positive, and at least 180 are still waiting on test results.

Now, 13 jail employees are also in isolation. Some have tested positive, others have been exposed to the virus, and the remainder are still waiting for their results.

Sheriff Asbell says they have suspended visitation at this time… And that leaves Harris looking for an alternative.

"They don't have a way where we can see them like a home visit, video visit. They don't have it set up to where we can have a video visit," said Harris.

This outbreak brings up even more questions. Wednesday, the Sheriff met with the states attorney and chief judge to discuss how to handle new arrests to limit exposure to the virus.

Gabi Guerrero

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