Officials at the Mobile County Metro Jail have confirmed a member of its medical staff has died of complications from COVID-19 — the first death reported from anyone connected to the facility.
“ We are heartbroken to announce the death of long time Medical Assistant, Casadear “CEDA” Williams,” Warden Trey Oliver said. “She fought gracefully for almost a week in ICU after testing positive for COVID-19.”
According to Oliver, Williams, 58, began working at Metro in 2004 and was admired and adored by all of her co-workers on the medical staff and among corrections officers. Williams leaves behind two children and one grandchild.
The news comes a day after Metro jail began widespread testing of employees in response to a growing number of cases inside the jail that health officials have labeled as a “cluster.” As of this week, officials have confirmed 38 known cases of COVID-19 among inmates and more than 30 among staff.
Through a partnership with the city of Mobile and USA Health, the jail plans to continue testing employees over the next day or so to get a gauge of where things are.
Cases in the jail have increased over the past month and a half, but MCSO made early efforts to release certain non-violent inmates who were at risk of developing complications from COVID-19 due to their age or medical conditions.
According to Sheriff Sam Cochran, Metro has been able to release more than 200 low-level inmates through agreements with local courts.
Additional sanitary and safety steps have also been taken to protect employees and prisoners including efforts to quarantine those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
At the moment, Metro has not begun any kind of widespread testing of its roughly 1,100 current inmates. On Tuesday, Cochran said there are only six inmates with current confirmed cases of COVID-19 inside the jail, though others have been tested and segregated as officials await results from a local lab.
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