Suspected monkeypox case identified in Maricopa County jail

By Jimmy Jenkins | The Arizona Republic

A person incarcerated in a Maricopa County jail is “suspected to have Monkeypox,” according to internal emails obtained by The Arizona Republic.

The emails, sent to Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office staff members on Thursday, refer to “an inmate with Monkeypox” being held in a jail infirmary.

“He is in medical isolation and will not be transported or removed from the cell without medical direction,” read an email to supervisors and commanders at the Sheriff’s Office.

What is monkeypox? How many monkeypox cases are in Arizona and how to get the vaccine

A reply from a shift supervisor says, “I have reviewed the CDC recommendations and we will treat it like a Positive Covid at this time.”

The correspondence states, “Staff shall wear N95 mask, gown, gloves, eye protection at all times dealing with this inmate. Please ensure supplies are placed outside of his cell and he is listed as Med Ops with precaution listed on his cell door.”

The directions to staff continue, suggesting the incarcerated person’s clothing and linens should be placed in a biohazard bag prior to being sent to laundry services.

The emails say the Sheriff’s Office staff is working with Correctional Health Services, which provides health care for the jail population, on additional protocols that may be needed. 

“There have been other cases reported around the jails across the United States,” one email says. “Based on what I have read, it appears to be easily controlled, if everyone follows the precautions listed.”

“While we are treating it like Covid, there is not any research that it spreads like Covid,” the email concludes.

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