A man who is incarcerated at the Cumberland County Jail has been quarantined and tested for coronavirus.

The sheriff’s office announced the development in a press release Thursday, and it comes as advocates push for the release of some inmates to prevent the spread of the disease in jails and prisons.

The man is 41 years old, and he was still waiting for test results as of Thursday afternoon. The sheriff’s office said the man has been in custody at the Community Corrections Center, which is on the jail campus on County Way in Portland. The center houses sentenced men and women who are low risk and within six months of release.

Deputy Chief Naldo Gagnon said the man was booked at the jail on June 20, 2019. He transferred to the Community Corrections Center just last week, on March 12.

The man was participating in work release, and he was not feeling well when he returned Wednesday evening from his job as a mason’s tender.

“The inmate was not feeling well and had an elevated body temperature,” the press release said. “The inmate walks to and from work. As a precautionary measure he was evaluated by our contract in-house medical provider. He is now being quarantined and waiting for COVID-19 testing results to be returned.”


The press release said the Community Corrections Center program is being suspended. Gagnon said some people have already been released early from that program, and nine people are still in custody in that building. But all programming and work release have stopped due to the virus.

As of Thursday afternoon, the confined inmate list for the Cumberland County Jail included 294 incarcerated people.

Advocates in Maine and around the country have called for the release of jail inmates with less than a year left on their sentences, or who meet federal criteria for being susceptible to infection.

On Thursday, advocates in Maine and 21 other states demanded in letters sent to governors and other state and local officials the release of detained and incarcerated youth to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. The group of organizations includes Maine Youth Justice.

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