Warden gives report on COVID situation at Clarion Co. jail

The COVID-19 virus has infiltrated the Clarion County jail.

Jail warden Jeff Hornberger said Thursday 14 inmates had been tested for the virus in November.

“Inside the facility we have had positives,” said Hornberger. “There were flu-like symptoms reported. Those people have been placed in quarantine.

“Currently we do have the space to quarantine them but it is trying,” Hornberger added. “The staff is working well together. The inmates are doing very well.”

The jail’s staff hasn’t been immune to the virus.

“We have a few staff out but most of them have returned already,” said Wayne Brosius, a county commissioner and jail board member.

Hornberger said the state correctional facilities are currently accepting inmates after they have been tested for the virus.

“The state will not take them unless they have tested negative,” he said. “That can take up to three months.”

The state had earlier declined to accept new inmates when an outbreak of the virus was reported earlier in state prisons.

The average daily population at the Clarion County jail was 61 inmates in November.

Inmates hadn’t been able to visit with their families due to coronavirus restrictions, then Hornberger provided details in July for a video visitation system. The system hasn’t been installed, but that may change.

County commissioners have executed a contract with GTL, and Hornberger said he would tell GTL the contract was approved.

Hornberger had said earlier the video visitation system would only be used if a resurgence of the virus would force restrictions to be re-instituted.

The warden said each inmate is allowed a one-half hour visit each week and the jail staff would determine the visitation schedule.