‘Scared for my son’: COVID cases spike in Dane Co. Jail

MADISON, Wis. –  There is a spike in COVID-19 cases at the Dane County Jail with 10 percent of the jail’s 552 residents reported positive for the virus Thursday.

The surge in cases hasn’t reached the peak seen last November when about 70 residents were positive but Jail Administrator Captain Kerry Porter said the recent increase in cases is concerning.

“We’re certainly taking everything that’s going on with the spike in the community and in our jail very seriously,” Porter said. “We’re doing our very best to mitigate this and try to prevent further spread.”

He said staff are keeping up with best practices when it comes to social distancing, sanitizing and masking but doing so can be challenging with the jail’s limited space.

Porter also said to help stop the spread they are doing a lot of testing, monitor for symptoms and encourage inmates to do the same.

 Thelma Smith said her asthmatic son is one of the 51 people at the jail who tested positive for Covid-19 and she’s concerned he’s not getting the care he needs.

“They don’t give him any cough medicine,” she said. “He’s been complaining about his stomach hurting really bad from coughing so much.”

Smith said though she’s vaccinated she was hospitalized for Covid-19 so she knows how bad it can be.

 “It just makes me nervous and scared for my son because I know what I went through and I really don’t want my son to go through that,” she explained. “I know they’re incarcerated and there are some privileges that they can’t have but still they’re human.”

Porter said those who test positive are isolated, receive daily temperature checks, and additional hydration like Gatorade.

He also said Medical staff keep a closer eye on them in medical isolation.

Still Smith is worried about her son and wants staff to do more.

“He asked the doctor, ‘Would I have to be practically dead to go to the hospital?’” said Smith. “He said that the doctor told him ‘pretty much’.”