5 inmates, 1 employee at Hennepin County Jail test positive for COVID-19

Five inmates and one employee at the Hennepin County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities told FOX 9 that those inmates were released to quarantine at home. The jail had its first confirmed case on April 12.

“As the largest county jail in the state, it was inevitable that we would be getting detainees who test positive for COVID-19,” said Sheriff Dave Hutchinson in a press release. “We serve a population that is larger than the combined population of the next three largest counties. We made it a priority to work with our medical experts to identify a plan to prevent the spread of the virus in our jail.”

Upon intake, detainees are given a mask and are screened for temperature and symptoms.

The sheriff's office has worked with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to reduce the jail's average daily population by about 45 percent since the beginning of March. A smaller population helps allow staff to isolate those who may be showing symptoms.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office will be updating testing numbers of inmates on its website. Information will be updated every weekday at 3 p.m.