Inmates, staff in jails and prisons tested for COVID-19

FLORIDA – Corrections facilities have been of special concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State prisons

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Moore Haven Correctional Facility, operated by the GEO Group Inc., had four staff members test positive for COVID-19. Okeechobee Correctional Institution had two staff members who tested positive. South Bay Correctional Facility, operated by the GEO Group Inc., had 175 prisoners and 59 staff members who tested positive for COVID-19.

Okeechobee County
Okeechobee County Jail has an average inmate population of 243. As of information released last week, one inmate has been tested for COVID-19; the test was negative. The county jail has 65 staff. Four staff members have been tested for COVID-19. All four tests were negative.
Coronavirus precautions taken at the Okeechobee County Jail include the following.
• All religious and self-improvement volunteer programs are suspended until further notice.
• Inmate movement has been limited.
• The visitation room has been closed to the public.
• Sanitizing wipes have been placed next to the citizen’s complaint phone.
• Attorney and public defender entries into the jail have been limited.
• The public defender investigator sends a daily schedule and is now called by inmates.
• Trustees for all non-departmental facilities have been suspended.
• All transports are suspended unless to drop off at treatment facilities.
• Court and first appearance hearing take place on video.
• Staff and inmates are screened and temperatures checked before entering the building.

Hendry County
At the Hendry County Jail, the average daily inmate population is 194. Two inmates have been tested for COVID-19. Both tests were negative. The jail has 42 staff members. Four staff members have been tested for COVID-19. All tests were negative.
Captain Joe Bastys stated that all outside professional traffic was stopped on March 16. All new inmates are quarantined for 14 days. Temperature checks are required for all persons entering the facility. General universal precautions. PPE (personal protection equipment) is utilized on quarantined housing unit and for all incoming new arrests. The jail’s COVID-19 prevention program includes education on sanitization, hand washing and social distancing.

Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County jails have an average inmate population of 1,100 at the Main Detention Center (MDC) in West Palm Beach, and 400 at the West Detention Center (WDC) in Belle Glade. At MDC, 23 prisoners have been tested for COVID-19, one inmate tested positive. At WDC, 85 inmates have been tested; 39 tested positive.
Whenever possible, the PBSO Department of Corrections is following the recommendations from the following organizations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Commission on Correction Health Care, Florida & National Sheriff’s Association, American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association.

Glades County
At the Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, 94 total staff have received some form of testing for COVID-19. Of those tested, 17 staff have tested positive. Six of the 17 have recovered and returned to duty.
One county jail inmate has tested positive.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 61 detainees housed at Glades County Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19.

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