A federal judge said Tuesday that she will order an emergency inspection of the D.C. jail while weighing whether to release prisoners after the number of inmates infected with the novel coronavirus quintupled from five cases to 28 in little more than a week, and the system transferred the first patient to a hospital.
The D.C. jail system has more confirmed coronavirus cases than all but four of 142 Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities nationwide, according to federal authorities, although its outbreak is not as widespread as those in jails in New York City, Chicago and other major urban areas. Tuesday’s hearing came as the D.C. jail system has cut its population by more than 300 prisoners in three weeks.
“This is an emergency. This is a pandemic. The numbers are increasing,” U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said, vowing to move swiftly during a hearing held by videoconference.