Strafford County Administrator Ray Bower has tested positive for COVID-19, Bower confirmed to Seacoast Current on Friday.

When reached by phone on Friday, Bower said he was "doing okay" and believes he is in the early stages of the virus. Bower said he was being tested multiple times per day and had multiple tests come back positive in recent days.

Bower said the rest of the staff in his office have been tested regularly and known close contacts had been recently tested in response to his own positive test. All those tests had come back negative as of Friday, Bower said.

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Bower's positive test comes during an outbreak at the Strafford County jail, a facility that Bower said had gone 280 days without a single coronavirus case until a current cluster surfaced with 17 infected inmates, according to George Maglaras, who serves as the chair of the county commission.

Maglaras told Seacoast Current on Thursday that he had tested negative in recent days. Both Maglaras and Bower said they would be "first in line" to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them.

Jails are expected to be part of a de-facto Phase 2 of vaccination efforts. Phase 1 is focused on health-care workers, first responders and long-term care facilities.

Maglaras said the county jail, which is located in Dover, has 85 county inmates and 356 total inmates when counting those being held from other jurisdictions.

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