Missoula jail closes in-person visits, reports 14 COVID-19 cases

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The Missoula County Detention Facility has 14 inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 and is closed again to all in-person visitations to limit the spread of the virus.

The 14 individuals who have tested positive are in quarantine, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jeannette Smith said in an email to the Missoulian.

There are 300 people housed at the jail, which is overpopulated. The detention facility can hold up to 224 adults., according to its website. 

The number of active COVID-19 cases at the jail is variable, Smith said. She would not describe recent numbers as an uptick.

Inmates are wearing masks. Staffers are not required to mask, but most do, she added. It is highly recommended for anyone entering the facility, such as attorneys or law enforcement, to also mask up. 

The jail operates on a pod-based system where inmates are contained within a small group, Smith said. Pods include a set number of cells and a single living space. Within the jail, pods vary in numbers and are determined by location, and people within these close-knit groups have very limited contact with other pods in the facility.

This configuration was in place pre-pandemic, but keeps inmates in small groupings, which

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