The COVID-19 outbreak at the Oklahoma County jail has worsened.
The number of inmates who have tested positive since July 1 has climbed to 149, officials said Wednesday.
That total is expected to increase. Approximately 1,400 tests have been done but results are not in on 300 of them, officials said.
The outbreak could jeopardize the start of jury trials, which have been put off for months because of the pandemic. Trials are scheduled to begin Monday.
The 13-story jail is west of downtown Oklahoma City and mostly holds defendants awaiting court. A trust took over operation of the jail from the sheriff July 1.
The jail’s medical provider, Turn Key Health Clinics, has switched to IMMY Labs in Norman to speed up the testing process. Still, it can take as long as seven to 10 days after a test before the results are in a computer database at the jail, The Oklahoman was told.
Some inmates have refused tests and been put in quarantine. Defendants are now being told they must be tested to go to court.
One inmate, drug trafficking defendant Clarence Merrell, 64, died last week after testing positive for COVID-19 at a hospital.