JONESBORO — Since all inmates and most staff have been tested, the Craighead County Detention Center has had a total of 32 COVID-19 cases since the recent outbreak, Chief Deputy Justin Rolland said Wednesday.

All inmates and most of the staff were tested over the weekend, Rolland said, after 11 inmates tested positive last week as the delta variant of COVID-19 has emerged. More than 250 inmates were tested, Rolland said. One employee tested positive.

He said almost all of the cases were asymptomatic and maybe three cases showed symptoms.

The delta variant is more than twice as contagious as the original virus, health officials have said.

“We’re considering retesting in a few days,” Rolland said.

Since Friday, about 100 inmates and staff have received vaccines, Rolland said.

Vaccines are offered free of charge.

Oklahoma-based Turn Key Health is the medical provider for the jail.

He said because of the close confinement inmates are in, testing will continue. He said the jail has sanitation requirements and masks are still mandatory.

The jail still has stopped visitations, church services and volunteer visits, he said.

Rolland said the jail is disinfecting constantly.

Dr. Shane Speights, dean of the medical school at Arkansas State University, told The Sun last week that with the delta variant one infected person will typically infect six to eight other people.

“That’s why you see a large increase in cases in a short amount of time,” he said. “It happens quickly. Everything is OK, until it’s not.”

Statewide, the Arkansas Department of Correction reported as of July 16:

Total tests: 73,596

The number of total tests includes all inmate/resident/DOC staff testing that was processed by the Arkansas Department of Health.


Inmates testing positive/recovered – 11,507

Testing positive/not recovered – 45

DOC staff

Testing positive/not recovered – 30