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Allegheny County Jail On Lockdown After 11 Employees Sickened

Mark Nootbaar
90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County jail is on lockdown after 11 employees were sickened by an unknown odor or substance. 

According to a press release from the county, nine corrections officers and two medical personnel became sick beginning around 10 p.m. Sunday evening. After being taken to the hospital, they were released. 

Inmates are being interviewed by staff to determine what the substance is and where it came from. The jail is being searched. County police are also involved in the investigation. 

The lockdown comes after the entire Pennsylvania prison system went on lockdown last Wednesday. The statewide lockdown was ordered after 29 employees experienced  illnesses related to a synthetic drug. 

Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the employees were exposed to what appeared to be K2, a synthetic cannabis. Staff members who came into contact with K2 experienced a range of reactions, from difficulty breathing, to rashes and fainting. 

Lucy Perkins is an editor and also reports on federal government and elections for the Government and Accountability team. Before joining the WESA newsroom, she was an NPR producer in Washington, D.C., working on news programs like All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. You can reach her at lperkins@wesa.fm.