May 30, 2020

Flu cases rise at jail as precautions remain

BANGOR – Five more Penobscot County Jail inmates reported flulike symptoms during the weekend, but cold sufferers appeared to be on the mend, Sheriff Glenn Ross said Sunday.

Safety precautions announced Christmas Eve are expected to remain in effect at least until midweek, Ross said. They were instituted last week after an inmate who died Tuesday was determined to have bacterial pneumonia, a possible complication of influenza.

The 20 people whose sentences were stayed last week still are to report to jail Tuesday.

Some of them may be transferred to the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth if the flu at the Bangor jail hasn’t abated, according to Ross.

The sheriff said Sunday that staff from the state Bureau of Health continued to monitor the situation and administered flu shots to staff and inmates over the weekend.

“We are taking a measured but responsible approach,” Ross said. “We are trying to stay ahead of the curve. The support from the [Bureau of Health] has been phenomenal in helping us do that.”

Over the weekend, the jail took in only arrestees who were considered to be a danger to society or were arrested on outstanding warrants for crimes other than bail violations.

Two men – one arrested in Bangor, the other in Old Town – remained in jail Sunday after being admitted over the weekend.

Visiting hours were put on hold Christmas Eve. Noncontact visits are expected to resume by midweek and contact visits are expected to be reinstated by the end of the week, Ross said Sunday.

Jason Shank, 22, of Bangor died at St. Joseph Hospital on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after being taken there for treatment of a respiratory illness. He was serving a 364-day sentence for assault, theft and probation violation. Shank was sentenced in October on the charges that apparently stemmed from different incidents.

A native of Fitchburg, Mass., and a 2000 graduate of Cony High School in Augusta, Shank was described in his obituary as a “loving and caring man who took care of anyone who needed it.”

He is survived by his mother, Dolores Shank Maheux, and her husband, Paul, of South China; his fiancee, Amy Garland of Bangor; and other relatives.

A wake was held Saturday at a Windsor funeral home. Services and burial will be in Massachusetts, according to the obituary.

The results of tests on cultures taken from Shank to determine if he had influenza had not been completed, according to Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Bureau of Health.

Ross said that an internal review of the circumstances surrounding Shank’s death was under way.

The sheriff said he expected the review by the state Department of Corrections done after the death of an inmate would begin once the medical examiner’s report had been completed.

The cost of the flu and cold epidemic at the jail has not yet been determined, according to the sheriff.

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