Charlotte County, FL-
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, to include the Charlotte County Detention Bureau has been proactive and cautious in its handling of the COVID-19 health threat. We are committed to following all protocols recommended by the CDC and are in constant communication with the Department of Health following through with their step-by-step guidance.
Recently, two members within our agency have tested positive for COVID-19. The first member, a law enforcement deputy, was determined to have contracted the virus off-duty. This member has received negative results and is awaiting additional testing, prior to returning to work. The second member to test positive is a Detention Deputy within the Charlotte County Jail. Currently, there is no evidence to show this was a job-related exposure.
This staff member is being reviewed by medical professionals and the Department of Health is aware and assisting with the management of the detainee population. Any staff or detainees that may have had contact with the positive staff member, are also being monitored. Currently, there are no inmates showing symptoms of contracting COVID-19.
Since the initiation of the national concern, the Bureau of Detention has undertaken multiple strategies in managing the ever-changing information. The Bureau has promoted education, implementation, and monitoring of best practices from the CDC and the Department of Health. Some of the methods taken to protect our staff and detainees are:
- Closed external inmate programs to avoid contact with individuals that may have been exposed
- Limited professional face-to-face visitation and encouraged digital communication
- Closed or minimized all external inmate work areas
- Enhanced cleaning procedures to assure that the commonly touched areas are cleaned multiple times per day with approved chemicals
- Educated staff and inmates about the virus and made available Protective Personal Equipment to include masks, gloves, and goggles
- Enhanced medical intake questions that are specific to Covid-19 and areas of high concentration
- 14-day quarantine for all incoming detainees with multiple temperature checks
- Medical isolation with negative pressure rooms for any person that appears to be symptomatic, answers affirmatively to the intake medical questions, or both
- Utilization of peroxide foggers and sprayers for mass area cleanup and vehicle sanitization
- Employee health checks
- Separation of linens and washing procedures
- Mandated hand washing times with inspections of kitchen workers
In addition to these precautions, the health care professionals within the detention facility are being mindful in their operations to assure all complaints are managed and treated appropriately. As an agency, we will continue to follow CDC and DOH guidelines, ensuring we are using best practices during this unprecedented time to keep our staff, the community, and our detainees safe.