Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

October 23, 2012

False meningitis scare at jail

86th District Court trial was also briefly locked down

TRAVERSE CITY — A false meningitis scare caused a brief lockdown at the Grand Traverse County Jail and a room in the neighboring courthouse.

Jail officials were notified early Monday that a person recently booked into the jail might have meningitis, Sheriff Tom Bensley said. No one was allowed to leave or enter the jail while authorities looked into the matter.

Authorities obtained medical records and determined the inmate didn't have meningitis, Bensley said. The jail was reopened after being locked down for less than an hour.

"It was pretty much, 'Much ado about nothing,'" Bensley said.

Meanwhile, a trial in nearby 86th District Court was locked down because a court bailiff there was at the jail and may have been exposed, Court Administrator Carol Stocking said. No one was allowed in or out of the courtroom for about a half hour.

That lockdown was lifted and the trial continued once it was determined the inmate didn't have meningitis.

Meningitis — an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord — has been the subject of much attention recently because of an ongoing nationwide outbreak caused when mold contaminated a batch of injectable steroid medication produced in Massachusetts.

At least four places in Michigan received shipments of the tainted steroid, including a facility in Traverse City.

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