Nearly 50 inmates, guards have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hamilton County jails since June

Photo by Austin Garrett, Chief Deputy Hamilton County Sheriff's Department / The 2nd floor of the Hamilton County Jail, which usually houses 120 inmates, is empty. With the COVID-19 pandemic the jail population has decreased.

Nearly 50 inmates and employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hamilton County jails, doubling partial counts provided to the Times Free Press last week.

New numbers provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office show that 15 inmates at the Hamilton County Jail downtown and 20 at the Silverdale facility have contracted the novel coronavirus this year, in addition to at least 13 employees who have gotten ill between the two facilities. Combined, that means at least 48 employees and inmates have tested positive for the virus since June.

Citing privacy laws, a spokesman for the sheriff's office declined to provide further details on the cases.

The numbers dwarf a response to a Times Free Press request last week, which only included currently active cases, that stated only 10 inmates, five employees and one contract employee at the Silverdale Detention Facility had tested positive for COVID-19.