Rick Singleton

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton 

FLORENCE — Two Lauderdale County sheriff's deputies have tested positive for COVID-19, Sheriff Rick Singleton said.

The deputy and corrections deputy are in quarantine and under medical care, Singleton said.

He said the deputy tested positive during the middle part of last week, and the corrections deputy tested positive Friday.

The corrections deputy works in the booking area of the Lauderdale County Detention Center, rather than among the general jail population, the sheriff said.

He said thae corrections deputy was in the midst of some off days when the symptoms started showing.

The other deputy could have been exposed on a call involving people with COVID-19.

"The deputy had responded to a call and it turned out the people in the house were positive (for COVID-19)," Singleton said. "We don't know if that's where he got exposed to it or not, but he started showing symptoms while at work and was sent home and tested ... and has remained home ever since."

The sheriff said department officials have stressed to deputies the importance of taking precautions if there is any chance they have been exposed to or feel symptoms of COVID-19.

"We've been telling them for months if you show any symptoms, stay at home and let us know," Singleton said.

He said no inmate has tested positive, and he is not aware of any other cases in the department.

"Some other employees who were in contact with the deputies have tested and they've come back negative," Singleton said.

The sheriff's office contacted the Alabama Department of Public Heath to inform state officials of the positive tests.

Singleton said deputies have been using disinfectant machines purchased by the Lauderdale County Commission. In addition, a grant helped them buy a commercial grade machine that they have been using in the jail.

Singleton said law enforcement work involves being out in the public and in contact with people.

"As much as our employees are around people, it's not surprising that we had someone infected," he said. "It's another risk of the job these days."

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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