Douglas County Jail: Still no COVID-19 cases

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

The Douglas County Jail, 3601 E 25th St., is pictured on April 7, 2020

More than four months after stay-at-home orders started to go into effect toward the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Kansas, the Douglas County Jail has had no positive cases, despite not currently requiring all inmates to wear masks at all times.

Jenn Hethcoat, public information officer for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, said the agency has had no employees reporting a positive COVID-19 test result at the jail or in its operations division, either.

Hethcoat said the jail was still following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations that all inmates be quarantined for 72 hours after entering the facility or reentering after appointments. In addition, temperatures and verbal screening continue for every individual who enters the facility, and employees and contractors are required to wear masks at all times, she said.

“Our medical quarantine areas have become full at times so we adapted to allow inmates who leave and return to the facility after non-COVID related doctor appointments, court hearings, etc. to quarantine in their individual housing units,” Hethcoat said via email Friday. “These individuals remain in their assigned unit, including during mealtime, for the 72-hour quarantine period.”

Inmates are not required to wear masks unless they’re in a 72-hour quarantine, Hethcoat said. However, they are also given new masks each Sunday; new masks are also provided throughout the week if a mask becomes soiled or damaged, she said.

Visitation has been limited since shortly after the pandemic began; instead, the sheriff’s office is allowing inmates two free 15-minute phone calls per week, the Journal-World has reported.

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