The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak in a jail inmate pod. In collaboration with the Lake County Health Department the Lake County Jail has conducted regular COVID-19 tests on inmates, correctional employees, and correctional contractors.
On December 14, 2020, the sheriff’s office received information that four inmates in housing pod 5-North tested positive. These inmates had been housed at the jail for several weeks. Upon learning of the positive tests, extended proactive mitigation protocols were ordered by Sheriff Idleburg which included the quarantine of pod 5-North. This mitigation includes no internal or external movements of inmates assigned to pod 5-North. Only specific jail employees are allowed to enter pod 5-North all of which are wearing medical-grade PPE.
All of the inmates in this pod were provided COVID-19 tests. Today, additional results were received showing 35 of the 53 inmates housed in pod 5-North were COVID-19-positive. The positive inmates in pod 5-North are asymptomatic and in good condition.
All of the inmates in pod 5-North, as well as all of the other inmate pods, have increased contact with the jail’s medical provider and are receiving exceptional care. To date, over 1,800 COVID-19 tests have been administered to jail inmates and jail employees.
A number of protocols have been in effect since February to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 entering the jail, as well as enhanced mitigation procedures should inmates feel ill. These include:
• Enhanced medical screening for inmates and employees entering the jail
• Increased cleanings of jail pods
• Minimization of inmates moving from pod to pod
• Establishing a medical segregation area for inmates with mild illness symptoms
o Any inmate experiencing illness wears a mask while quarantined
• Worked with Courts & criminal justice partners to establish electronic bond hearings, versus in-person hearings
o Inmates who receive a recognizance bond at their initial hearing never enter the jail’s general population area
• Utilizing PPEs for all jail staff
• All inmates wear facemasks when outside of their cell for any reason
• Utilized vacant housing pods to spread the distance between inmates
• All newly remanded inmates are housed out of general population for 14 days for medical evaluation before being moved to general population
• Inmates are required to eat in their cell, rather than a group setting
• Inmates are allowed to have their cell doors open during socialization times, but congregated together in common areas are not allowed
• Regular COVID-19 testing of jail inmates and jail employees