The Director of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department has issued a letter defending the Laramie County Detention Center policies designed to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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Kathy Emmons emailed the following letter to Townsquare Media of Cheyenne on Friday afternoon:

To the editors

Misleading comments have recently been made regarding the COVID-19 preventative processes utilized through the summer at the Laramie County jail. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Captain Don Hollingshead worked very closely with the Cheyenne Laramie County Health Department to protect the health of both inmates and staff at the jail. Captain Hollingshead was one of the first to present a very well detailed response plan to deal with COVID cases at the jail. Laramie County experienced an upsurge of cases beginning in June when the Delta Variant hit the county. By their very nature, congregate settings such as jails are at high risk of COVID spread, and the Delta variant expedited that.

Deputy Hollingshead was in constant contact with our office during any outbreak and followed all CDC, State and County health recommendations. The outbreaks also increased the staffing challenges because both officers and inmates were exposed and became positive. The segregation of inmates was the only way to provide any control of the virus and to increase safety. Testing protocols were also quickly instituted to minimize unnecessary isolations or quarantines

It is obvious that a potential crisis was avoided at the jail due to Deputy Hollingshead’s leadership during the pandemic. His action protecting the inmates, staff and subsequently the community helped keep our community safe.

Kathy Emmons

Executive Director

Cheyenne Laramie County Health Department

Don Hollingshead, the Captain in charge of the detention center, is one of four announced candidates for Laramie County Sheriff in the 2022 election. The other three are former Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak, Patrick Long, and James Barth.

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