Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said today (Friday, April 10, 2020) that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in county correctional facilities, in large part because of aggressive steps taken to reduce potential exposure.
In a news release, Hain said his staff members in conjunction with the Kane County Health Department have set “numerous protocols” since early March to establish and maintain social distance and sanitation for corrections staff and the inmate population at the Kane County Adult Corrections Center at 37W755 Illinois Route 38.
Several of those protocols — such as creating a separate cell block for incoming detainees, the release of non-violent detainees to lower the jail population, and the use of purification devices — were considered groundbreaking and many were established ahead of other correctional facilities through the state and nation.
Hain said those early protocols helped avoid some of the headlines and tragic outcomes we’ve seen regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths chronicled in correctional facilities across the country,
“We have not experienced a pandemic and governmental response of this magnitude in our lives before,” Hain said. “But we remain fully staffed, well supported, and agile to address whatever new challenges each day brings.”
Health Department, State’s Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office personnel began discussions in February and implemented sweeping changes in early March.
COVID-19 Action Timeline
The sheriff’s timeline of COVID-19-related actions is as follows:
Week of March 1 to March 7
Jail medical staff initiated protocols for screening of incoming detainees for COVID-19 and procedures for placing any symptomatic detainees into a negative pressure cell in the jail’s medical unit.
Week of March 8 to March 14
All jail programming provided by outside entities was suspended.
The sheriff and state’s attorney identified the release of non-violent detainees on either electronic monitoring or recognizance bonds. This effort continued for the next few weeks, taking the 640-bed jail population from 491 to 361 as of today (April 10).
Hain and his staff continue to scan the jail population and make release recommendations.
Week of March 15 to March 21
Officials set up one cell block as an incoming detainee quarantine area, where detainees are held for observation for up to four weeks before being placed in general jail population.
Sanitizing procedures were implemented to cleanse surfaces in the intake area of the jail every two hours, at minimum, and more than 1,000 bars of soap were ordered and given to detainees for increased self-care.
The Sheriff’s Office purchased additional food and dry good reserves in the event supply chains became delayed or severed in the future.
Week of March 22 to March 29
All visitation for detainees and their family members were suspended and jail residents were provided with additional free phone time to compensate.
Ionizer and ozone purification devices were installed in jail intake and holding areas for incoming detainees.
The Sheriff’s Office began mandating jail staff to begin wearing face masks and rubber gloves for their entire work shift. Corrections officers were assigned to specific cell blocks to minimize cross-contamination throughout the facility.
March 30 to Present
Sheriff’s Office staffers continue to scan and trend to new issues or possible gaps in virus prevention on a daily basis, Hain said.
For example, the Sheriff’s Office has established an Isolation and Quarantine Response Team comprised of trained SWAT and Corrections Response Team Officers who are capable of responding throughout the county to take into custody and transport people arrested for more-serious crimes who also test positive or show clear symptoms of COVID-19.
The team is equipped with full protective apparatus and proper police duty gear worn on the outside the protective equipment to effectively perform essential police functions.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, Health Department, and Sheriff’s Office have also formed a Civil Compliance Team that works to mitigate with businesses who may be operating outside the Governor’s Executive Orders.
SOURCE: Kane County Sheriff’s Office news release