Friday, July 10, 2020

HumCo Correctional Officer Tests Positive for COVID-19

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 12:08 PM

click to enlarge The Humboldt County jail. - FILE
  • File
  • The Humboldt County jail.
A Humboldt County correctional officer as tested positive for COVID-19, the Sheriff's Office announced this morning.

The deputy tested positive for the virus during a routine medical screening and is asymptomatic, according to a press release. They will undergo a 14-day isolation period required by Public Health, the release states, adding that contact investigators have identified three additional correctional officers who had direct exposure to the officer and they are undergoing temporary quarantines, pending testing.

Additionally, the release states the Sheriff's Office is working to test all inmates who have possibly been exposed.

Throughout the state and nation, jails and prisons — like other congregate living settings — have the been the sites of intense clusters of COVID-19 cases, and the local jail implemented strict screening protocols to try to keep the virus out of the facility.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said in the release that the jail will continue taking every precaution necessary to keep staff and inmates healthy and safe.

“Being such a large department and the unique circumstances that come with a correctional facility, we did expect this type of situation to occur at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Honsal said. “We are thankful to have been able to identify this individual and their close contacts quickly, and will continue following our protocols in place to minimize further exposure and impact on our incarcerated population.”

See the full press release copied below:

Humboldt County Correctional Deputy tests positive for COVID-19
Sheriff Star
A Humboldt County Correctional Deputy is currently in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Correctional Deputy was recently tested for the virus during a routine medical screening. The deputy remains asymptomatic and will be undergoing a 14-day isolation period required by the Public Health Department. The correctional facility is working with Public Health contact investigators and have identified three additional correctional deputies who had direct exposure to the individual. Those deputies are undergoing a temporary quarantine pending the results of COVID-19 tests.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office is working with the facility’s medical provider, Wellpath, and Public Health officials to test all incarcerated individuals with possible exposure. Thorough disinfectant cleaning has and will continue to be conducted in all impacted areas of the facility.

As part of the Correctional Facility’s COVID-19 protocols, correctional deputies are required to wear facial coverings within the facility. Correctional deputies may remove masks during break times in staff-only areas when consuming food or beverage. Regular deep cleaning and sanitation of inmate dorms and high traffic areas have also been implemented. Additionally, to minimize exposure of the virus from newly incarcerated individuals, all individuals recently booked into the facility are separated from the main jail population for the first fourteen days of incarceration. They are given a full health screening upon arriving at the jail, checked periodically and given a full screening at the end of the fourteen days to ensure they are symptom free prior to being housed in regular population.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said that the facility will continue taking every precaution necessary to keep staff and inmates healthy and safe. “Being such a large department and the unique circumstances that come with a correctional facility, we did expect this type of situation to occur at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Honsal said. “We are thankful to have been able to identify this individual and their close contacts quickly, and will continue following our protocols in place to minimize further exposure and impact on our incarcerated population.”
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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