Officials confront COVID problems at county jail
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
Darlington County Sheriff James Hudson and his officers are working to contain and control COVID-19 problems that have broken out at the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center. “We are working very hard to maintain” safety at the jail, Hudson told the News & Press. “Everybody over there is working hard.” “I don’t think anybody in the state has ever encountered this type of issue before,” Hudson said, in terms of health issues in a detention center – the kind of enclosed space that is especially vulnerable to COVID infections. Hudson said the Sheriff’s Office started testing the 45 or so jail officers for COVID about Jan. 22 or 23. “It takes a while to get the results back,” he said. Eight employees tested positive, and Hudson said the jail inmates will be tested as well. On Sunday, Jan. 24, COVID caused a manpower shortage at the Darlington County jail that required officials to seek help from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. Florence County loaned the Darlington County jail three or four corrections officers. Because of the pandemic, Hudson said, it’s not unusual for one agency to aid another that is shorthanded. Hudson said Darlington County recently helped out the Marlboro County jail because of the same COVID problem. “Every jail is having (these problems),” Hudson said. “Everybody’s got the same issue. We’re just trying to handle it the best way we can.” The sheriff said he feels confident that the detention center can handle the COVID issues. He said he is fully aware of how dangerous the coronavirus can be. Hudson said that he has recently lost three friends to the virus. “This thing is real,” Hudson said. “It has changed our way of doing things. It has changed our way of life.” Nearby Chesterfield County had to put its county jail on lockdown recently because of COVID, with at least nine inmates testing positive for the virus.