MANTI, Utah– Sanpete County officials confirm their first outbreak of COVID-19 within the Sanpete County Jail. County officials report two dozen Sanpete inmates tested positive for COVID-19 last week in the jail.
Some of the inmates’ family members wonder if their loved ones are getting proper pain medication.
Pain management for COVID-19 in the Sanpete County Jail
Out of the 24 inmates that had positive COVID-19 results, all but two have been isolated from the rest of the population. Rachel Larsen reported her husband, James, is one of those inmates; despite James receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine a few months ago.
Larsen is very familiar with how painful COVID-19 can be.
“I was hospitalized. I had it that bad and I know how awful you feel,” she said.
So, she was concerned when her husband told her he was only given a small amount of Tylenol for his pain. According to Larsen, inmates were instructed to order more Tylenol through the commissary if they needed it.
According to Larsen, those orders can take a week to arrive.
“That’s why I’m so upset,” she said. “They’re all feeling lousy.”
Sanpete County officials respond
However, county officials are refuting any claims that pain pills are being withheld. Officials added that if inmates don’t get the treatment they need, the jail is held liable.
Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels said inmates can order over-the-counter pain meds through their commissary system, but, that isn’t the only way an inmate can get them. Daniels said if an inmate feels they need medicine, they can go to the jail infirmary.
Daniels said, “[The inmate] can then see the nurse, again, and get additional Tylenol should the need arise.”
He said the only medications that are restricted are controlled substances like Adderall or Percocet. Daniels said many of the inmates are addicted to drugs, so they need to keep them away from the general population.
“There are limited circumstances where certain prescribed medications are available, like psychotropic medications. Those are usually done very carefully under a doctor’s care,” he said.
Daniels reported they’re not sure how the outbreak started, so health officials are conducting their own investigation.
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