Inmate mistakenly released from Clark County jail after being tested for COVID-19

(Clark County Detention Center photo)
(Clark County Detention Center photo)

A man who was arrested on a bench warrant Friday night was tested at the Clark County Detention Center for COVID-19 and released Saturday after jail personnel reportedly provided a judge with inaccurate information that the inmate tested presumptively positive.

“She did nothing wrong,” Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Cynthia Cruz said of the judge. “That judge relied on the information that was being presented to her.”

Intake personnel at the jail have not responded to requests for comment.

According to Cruz, upon intake on a bench warrant for auto theft, the man reported flu-like symptoms and said he’d traveled to California and Washington.  He was placed in isolation where he tested negative for the flu and pneumonia, according to Cruz.

Cruz said the man was no longer symptomatic and had no fever while in isolation, but was tested for COVID-19 “out of an abundance of caution.” 

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. Jeff Stuart says the Southern Nevada Health District was notified of the man’s release.  Health officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Jail officials told news media last week that inmates displaying symptoms would be isolated in the jail.

Are more inmates suspected of having COVID-19 headed for early release?

“I can’t say,” Cruz said.  “Everyone is being evaluated on a case by case basis.”

Dana Gentry
Senior Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, a grandson, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.