Chelan County Regional Justice Center is delaying its time frame to allow full capacity for inmates.

“We were shooting for August 1st for that strategic reopening,” said Jail Director Chris Sharp while addressing a Tuesday afternoon meeting of Chelan County commissioners. “We’re probably going to put that back until September 1st, just so we can get some good planning and actually watch the numbers a little bit more.”

Sharp says he is watching the new Delta strain of COVID-19, which is more contagious than previous variants, and wants to see how it affects the region.

The county released dozens of inmates in the early days of the pandemic, and has been only taking people on charges such as felonies, DUI’s and domestic violence.

According to Sharp, no inmates and just two Chelan County Regional Justice Center staff members have come down with the virus.  

He says the jail will open to full capacity sooner than the state is recommending.  “The recommendation from the Washington State level from the jail commanders is to not open up anything,” Sharp said. “They’re actually pushing to not open the jails back up until January of 2022.”

The jail population has been hovering between 110 and 135, although there was a small spike in the numbers from arrests over the Fourth of July weekend.

Sharp says he will give county commissioners more details about the jail’s full reopening when the actual date gets closer.

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