Morgan County jail has procedures in place if coronavirus spreads

There are no cases of the virus in the state of Alabama, but it hasn't stopped officers and the jail from starting to make plans.

Posted: Mar 10, 2020 9:24 PM
Updated: Mar 10, 2020 10:43 PM

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office has a plan in place if inmates start showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

There are no cases of the virus in the state of Alabama now, but it hasn't stopped officers and the jail from starting to make plans. 

"We're business as usual, thankfully we have plans in place that coordinate with EMA that takes into account multiple scenarios," Mike Swafford with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office said. 

Swafford says the the third floor in the jail is unused, but would serve as a quarantine for any inmates that may have the virus. 

"We have a large population, we have about 600 inmates in our county jail, we can house up to 1000. What that does is it causes concern because we want to make sure it doesn't spread but it also tells us we have room to handle, should it show up," Swafford said.

He says even if one inmate is moved to the floor, it must be staffed as if it was filled. Swafford says the jail also has two negative pressure rooms that can house a sick inmate, the rooms keep anything inside from getting out. There is also a risk of the virus whenever someone visits the jail.

"Should it become time to take different measures, we'll be able to screen differently, when folks come into the jail, and if someone tests positive or has suspicion that they have something, we have areas where we can quarantine them," Swafford said.

Morgan County recently created an infectious disease task force, with local first responders and schools working together to share information and make sure they have the right supplies needed. The county is doing what they can to be ready.

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