When the COVID-19 pandemic started the Yakima County Department of Corrections took immediate action to prevent the spread of the virus. High risk inmates being held on low risk crimes were released from the jail and local authorities were told to only place in the county jail those who are committing the most serious crimes. Officials also stopped taking contracted inmates from other counties and like the pandemic restrictions continues so to do the restrictions at the jail. Before the pandemic the population of the jail averaged about 700 inmates on any given day. Today the population is an average of 400. Although some inmates and officers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 there's been no mass outbreak at the Yakima County Department of Corrections and officials want to keep it that way through some new tools arriving Thursday.
According to a press release the Yakima County Department of Corrections is set to receive two Abbott rapid testing machines for COVID19 testing. The results of the COVID-19 rapid tests return within fifteen minutes. Jail officials say the machines will "help immensely in housing and classification of individuals who are brought in and booked into the jail. Although they are currently calibrated to test for COVID19, the machines can be used for other testing if needed. These were purchased with grant funds through DOC participation with the Yale Grant Study."

Jail officials say the purpose of the Yale Grant Study is to identify ethical concerns and potential solutions for COVID-19 testing and vaccine strategies in correctional facilities using a community-engaged strategy.

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