Former Marshall County Jail nurse speaks out about facility’s COVID-19 outbreak

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – News 19 is continuing to dig into complaints viewers have raised about the way the Marshall County Jail is navigating the statewide spike in COVID-19 cases.

A former medical provider at the Marshall County Jail has come forward to share concerns she has with the way the jail is handling COVID-19.

Robin Scott is a nurse practitioner, and until Friday, Aug. 20, she provided medical care at the Marshall County Jail.

She said COVID-19 wasn’t a problem until August. The Delta variant has proven to be especially contagious.

On Sunday, August 15th, she got a call from a jail nurse to check on an inmate being held for DeKalb County.

“He was scared and that’s something. I held his hand and I tried to convince him that we would do everything we could and I can’t get his face out of my head. He died.” Scott recalled.

Scott says the inmate was transported to a hospital where they later died.

She said she was able to test 38 male inmates, 17 were positive for COVID-19. The jail was using the D-Block to quarantine COVID-positive inmates. As area hospitals were filling up, Scott got supplies to treat inmates in the jail.

“I was actually given a truck bed of supplies from Marshall Medical Centers,” she explained.

Also, amid the outbreak, she said Sheriff Phil Sims agreed to have all inmates tested for COVID-19. She says the jail was provided testing supplies from the Alabama Department of Public Health for this endeavor.

But Friday, Aug. 20, before all of the inmates were tested she said she quit her job over an ongoing disagreement with the sheriff over nursing staff for the jail.

She said she decided to come forward after watching News 19’s story about the jail Tuesday when sheriff’s office officials said they would only test inmates if they showed symptoms.

News 19 asked Scott what her concern was with not testing all of the inmate population right now.

Her answer, “the high-risk ones [inmates] that could possibly get more ill or die.”

Scott also said she was told Wednesday morning the jail is giving the donated medical supplies back to the hospital.

Sheriff Sims gave conflicting answers when he spoke to News 19 Wednesday.

News 19 inquired if there was there ever a plan to test all the inmates.

Sims answer, “Our plan from day one is the same as it’s been right now. We don’t test unless they’re symptomatic.”

Later in the day, Sims told us that there was a plan to test all of the inmates for COVID-19 before Scott left, but their current medical provider didn’t think it was necessary.

We also inquired about the status of the medical supplies the jail was given and if there was ever a plan to get rid of those supplies.

“The supplies are still here if that’s what you’re asking,” Sims said. “Not that I’m aware of.”

Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Marshall Medical Centers confirmed the jail contacted them to return some of the donated materials, specifically reusable IV pumps for infusions that are used for COVID-19 treatment.

Sheriff Sims told News 19 symptomatic inmates at the jail were only experiencing mild symptoms as of Wednesday. He also said he wants the community to know the jail has 24-hour medical care for inmates. He added they are working to vaccinate the jail population and they received a shipment of 50 vaccines Wednesday.

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