Several jailers in Walton County jail test positive for COVID-19

No inmates have tested positive, officials say

A week after it was announced that some of the judges and staff in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit had tested positive for COVID-19, officials have confirmed that several jailers in the Walton County Detention Center have now tested positive too.

“There are a few employees who have tested positive and, like everyone else, we have a few folks on presumptive quarantine,” Walton County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Maj. Scott Whisnant said. “I will not release names because of HIPAA.”

Whisnant said that at this time no inmates have tested positive. He said that outside of the quarantines, there is no change to how things have been handled in the jail.

“There is nothing different than we have been doing all along – screening people before they come in, just like everyone else in America unfortunately,” Whisnant said. “We have not allowed visitation since the beginning of COVID, nor is any other jail that I know of unless they have video visitation.”

On June 29, Superior Court Judges John Ott and Horace Johnson Jr. found out that they had tested positive for COVID-19, along with some other staff members in the Newton County District Attorney’s office. The Alcovy Judicial Circuit serves both Walton and Newton counties. Acting District Attorney Randy McGinley said at the time that he didn’t believe any staff members at the Walton County District Attorney’s Office had tested positive.

Acting District Attorney Randy McGinley said he is aware that there are some other staff members in the Newton County office who have also tested positive, but he is not aware of anyone outside of judges in Walton County who have tested positive.

“We did have one person in our office who was quarantined for two weeks,” McGinley said. “They had been around someone else that had tested positive so we required that they stay out for two weeks.”

Ott announced that he would be working remotely for two weeks, but then two days after testing positive, on July 1, Johnson passed away. The courts were immediately shut down until July 15 and the National Guard was brought in to clean and sanitize the buildings.

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