In an effort of transparency, our office would like to update everyone on our current COVID status. While we have been very successful keeping our detention center COVID-free during the entire pandemic, our first COVID cases came from the Ashe County Detention Center on June 7th,2021. While holding inmates for Surry and Watauga counties, two inmates were transferred back to Watauga County and tested positive upon arrival at their facility.
AppHealthCare immediately conducted rapid tests on our entire detention staff and inmate population that resulted in all negative results. When full results came in, we found two additional inmates that tested positive. As of today, a total of four inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Three of the individuals are isolating within the Watauga County Detention Center and one in the Ashe County Detention Center.
We want to thank everyone for their cooperation and assistance during this time. We are taking every precaution to keep all staff and inmates safe while keeping the potential of spread at a minimum. From this point, our detention staff and inmates will be tested weekly until we have zero cases for 28 days.
While this process may take a bit, we want to continue serving our county in the best way possible. Our office will not close and we will be available to assist you in any way we can. I feel that our staff has done an excellent job over the past year to protect Ashe County, as well as the inmates housed inside the Detention Center.
Sheriff B. Phil Howell