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Sedgwick County inmate dies after testing positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A 60-year-old man who was in the Sedgwick County jail has died after suffering from a chronic medical issue and after testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, some of the inmates housed with him in an open dormitory pod have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Col. Jared Schechter, a spokesman for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, says the man, Lester L. Jacobs, had a chronic medical issue when he was booked into jail on July 16. Schechter says Jacobs recently started showing a decrease in cognitive functions and was admitted to the hospital Wednesday.

In the hospital, Jacobs tested positive for the coronavirus. He died shortly before noon Thursday.

The sheriff’s office is waiting for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The inmate’s family, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the sheriff’s investigation division have been notified.

Schechter says two or three inmates in the dormitory pod where Jacobs was housed have tested positive for the coronavirus. The pod is in quarantine. He also says two detention deputies recently tested positive and are quarantining, but he does not know if the deputies worked with Jacobs.

The jail has a nurse who assesses each inmate at the time of booking. The nurse decides if the inmate should be tested for the coronavirus. Inmates who test positive are put in individual cells.

All inmates are given masks and encouraged to wear them, but Schechter says most inmates do not wear them. All inmates are also offered a free COVID-19 vaccination. He said that a couple of months ago, the jail did a mass vaccination effort, and only 39% of inmates agreed to be vaccinated.

Schechter does not know if Jacobs had been vaccinated.

The sheriff’s office says Jacobs was being held in the jail on felony charges of violating the offender registration act and a state parole violation.

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