Flu Symptoms Have Inmates Wearing Masks In Allen Co. Jail (VIDEO)

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

January 14, 2014 Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 6:08 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – A couple of flu cases have the Allen County Sheriff's Department taking some serious measures.

The Allen County Sheriff's Department says flu-like symptoms are going around the jail, but emphasize that people should not be worried.

Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel with the Sheriff’s Department assured 21Alive that this is not an outbreak, and that it's no worse than the flu virus spreading around the workplace.

Tinkel did confirm that several inmates have shown signs of possibly having the virus.

As a precaution inmates are wearing surgical masks and gloves, and Tinkel says they only have to wear them when outside of their cells.

Tinkel says the inmates began wearing the masks over the weekend. Since then, Tinkel says the department has taken cultures and sent them to the state to be tested for the virus.

The Sheriff’s Department says inmates haven't had to wear masks before, but they're taking these measures to prevent the virus from spreading to other inmates, jail staff, and in the courts.

"When you have people in close quarters like the inmates are at the jail, the tendency to spread viruses, or colds, or what have you increases, greatly,” said Tinkel.

Tinkel says the Department will make the inmates wear the masks until there’s a sign the flu symptoms have died down.

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