According to Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner, the sherriff's office is taking precautions to make sure there is no disruption in services due to the coronavirus. In a statement, Turner stated that no cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in the jail.
Here is the statement from the Madsion County Sheriff's Office:
As concerns over the spread of COVID19, also known as Coronavirus, are increasing, Sheriff Turner wants to assure the entire Madison County community that all precautions are being taken and constantly evaluated to ensure there is no disruption in the police service we provide in the community, as well as the services provided inside the Madison County Jail. The sheriff’s office wants to also assure everyone that no cases of COVID19 have been diagnosed in the jail.
Supervisors in our patrol and investigations divisions, as well as the jail, are reminding employees to wash their hands as much as possible, and to be cautious when having face-to-face contact with citizens. The sheriff’s office has cancelled advanced training courses for the rest of this month and will evaluate response options to calls as needed. The sheriff’s office already has an alternative response system in place to process some calls and reports by phone. Sheriff Turner said, “The sheriff’s office will not compromise the safety of our citizens for any reason. Our employees will continue to provide quality services to our community, whether that be through the Patrol Division in the field, or by our Corrections staff inside the jail”.
The agency, especially the jail, has implemented a two-phased approach, with the jail implementing a special medical care phase as follows:
-Command staff and County officials have attended factual risk assessment briefings from the Alabama Department of Public Health through the Madison County Emergency Management Agency.
-The jail has instituted universal flu precautions as part of day-to-day operations
-Over the course of the past several weeks the jail staff has worked closely with vendors to purchase a stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of N95 masks and disposable protective suits.
-Over the past several weeks staff have been utilizing clorox and other cleaning agents to disinfect the highest traffic areas and areas of highest movement; paying specific attention to frequently touched surfaces and equipment used across different inmates such as restraints.
-Transport vehicles are being regularly disinfected before and after every transport, especially those designed for transporting multiple inmates per trip.
-Jail staff are working with the contracted food service provider to plan food supply, preparation and service procedures taking into account transmission risk factors.
-The jail staff has purchased stocks of personal hygiene supplies and are working closely with our vendors to ensure the jail supply remains constant and available.
-Re-evaluation of the classification/housing schedule is ongoing making sure to include flu risk factors as a part of classification and housing decisions.
-Efforts are being made to use the contracted medical provider to identify all inmates most at risk of contracting the virus, or having increased complications due to the virus, and those inmates are being housed in low traffic/low movement areas. On the advice of our medical staff, these currently include inmates of advanced age, cardiac or blood pressure issues, renal issues or any other heath factor which could impact their immune system.
Medical Care Phase:
-Madison County has a current contract with the Huntsville Hospital System, complete with a full agreement for medical services for all jail inmates if needed.
-The Madison County Jail contracts in-house health services through Southern Health Partners. Dedicated 24hr nursing staff works in the facility and physicians visit the facility multiples times weekly. The medical provider maintains complete latitude concerning the treatment of all sick inmates.
-Southern Health Partners remains in contact with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC regarding protocols in the event of the need for quarantine or treatment should a case of the virus be confirmed in the jail.
-For many years MCSO has required SHP to perform a medical evaluation of each and every inmate who enters the jail at the time of arrest. A follow-up evaluation is mandatory within 48hrs for any person to be housed in the facility beyond that time.
-Southern Health Partners has altered the questions asked and tests performed during the evaluations to specifically target the various symptoms of the flu.
-The Madison County jail was constructed with a full-service medical ward isolated and separate from general population. This ward has a capacity in excess of 30 inmates and has 7 negative pressure isolation rooms. These rooms are designed to increase the likelihood that transmission of illness can be controlled.
-In addition to the medical ward, jail staff has identified and designated a housing unit which can be cleared and utilized as medical overflow as needed.