Visitation suspended at DeSoto County Jail due to cluster of COVID-19 cases

WATCH: Visitation suspended at DeSoto County Jail due to cluster of COVID-19 cases

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Visitation has been suspended at the DeSoto County Jail due to a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

The DeSoto County Jail also wants mass COVID testing for all the inmates and employees, after 11 inmates tested positive for the virus.

The facility was originally mask-optional, but masks are now required.

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The trusty program is suspended, and no visitors are allowed to the jail.

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Chief Deputy Justin Smith confirmed 11 inmates from the same pod tested positive for the virus.

“We’ve done everything we can over the past 6 months. I guess its inevitable with how widespread it’s become,” said Chief Deputy Justin Smith.

Nine inmates were asymptomatic while two developed symptoms.

The inmates who tested positive are part of the “trusty” group, which is a group that works in the community on projects like roadside cleanup.

Smith said when inmates leave the jail for work they get masks and are screened before coming back inside the jail.

WATCH: Visitation has been suspended at the DeSoto County Jail due to a cluster of COVID-19 cases

“These are people who elect to do this, there is a selection process and these are people who make good means of their time when they are with us,” said Smith.

Right now, the inmates who tested positive are inside their pods and are being checked 5 times a day by medical staff.

Chief Deputy Smith explained why it’s hard to individually quarantine each inmate.

“It has its own challenges,” he said. "It’s unrealistic to lay that tax burden on our taxpayers to be able to quarantine 400 people individually.

We can’t give them a hotel environment. As much as we would like to, it would be unrealistically budgetarily it would be irresponsible."

With the new outbreak, everyone is now required to wear a mask.

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