A COVID-19 outbreak at the Wilkes County Jail in Wilkesboro, with three people testing positive, was reported Thursday.

Jared Belk, health educator at the Wilkes Health Department, said the three people at the jail tested positive for COVID-19 and are now in self-isolation. An outbreak is at least two confirmed cases in a congregate living facility.

“We feel that this is an isolated incident. All persons who came in contact with the positive cases were immediately put on self-isolation”, said Major Logan Kerr of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office. Kerr declined to say how many of the three are inmates or jail staff.

The jail can house up to 240 adult males and females.

Wilkes Health Department Director Rachel Willard said Wilkes jail staff have been working to closely follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on mitigation steps.

Willard added, “Our communicable disease team has been in constant communication with the jail and they have been given all the necessary guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and NC DHHS."

Belk said that across the state, there have been 40 outbreaks in correctional facilities with 2,520 positive cases, and 36 deaths.

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