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Black Hawk County Jail addresses public concerns after 4 inmates tested positive for COVID-19



Update (9:21 pm):

On Tuesday night, Captain Nathan Naf, the administrator of the Blackhawk County Prison, issued a press release about the current situation at the Blackhawk County Prison.

The content is:

“The results of the recent Covid-19 test conducted by four prisoners show that many members of the public are understandably concerned about the condition of the Blackhawk County Prison and the measures taken to ensure the safety of prisoners. Unfortunately, some of them are not. Complete and/or disseminate incorrect information that causes anxiety. To help alleviate some of the public’s concerns, I want to highlight some of the steps we have taken to keep the prison safe.

In March, we began to screen all new prisoners and isolate those who showed symptoms or answered yes to screening questions. The temperature of employees is measured at the beginning and end of each shift. By April, we began to isolate all arrested persons who had been in prison for 1

4 days. All staff and prisoners at the entrance of the prison or prison isolation area must wear masks.

Every prisoner and staff have been put on a mask (and will continue to use it), and they can all wear a mask after the quarantine period is over. According to the guiding principle that contact with others does not constitute exposure, unless you are within six feet of another person for less than 15 minutes, neither staff nor prisoners need to wear masks outside the above-mentioned area, because this kind of closed, long-term If anything, contact occurs rarely. Essentially, the staff and the prisoners are socially separated from each other.

The system is very effective, because between March 1 and October 27, 3,066 people have been booked for imprisonment. During this period, the daily population was between 111 and 270, and currently stands at 243. Until recently, no prisoners tested positive for Covid-19. Although the four prisoners who tested positive are a small percentage of our population, we think it is best to increase our safety procedures to ensure the safety of the prison population as much as possible. This is why all employees and prisoners must now wear masks, even if they are socially separated from each other, it is also why we have established a “rolling forbidden zone.”

Throughout the pandemic, the Sheriff’s Office has been working with the Blackhawk County Health Bureau and the prison’s medical service provider Naphcare to ensure everyone is as safe and healthy as possible while still maintaining the rights of prisoners. The public can rest assured that we will move on. “

Captain Nathan Neff
Prison guard
Blackhawk County Sheriff’s Office

__________________________

Original story (10:46 AM):

Black Hawk County, Iowa (KWWL)-The Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office is implementing security protocols after multiple inmates in the jail tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Sheriff Tony Thompson, four prisoners tested positive for the virus. One prisoner is in the general population, and the other three prisoners are people who have recently arrived at the prison and are undergoing the standard 14-day isolation period for upcoming prisoners. The test results came back last week, and all four inmates are still in prison.

Thompson said: “This is not an outbreak, this is just a problem.” He added that these four positive cases accounted for about 1% of the prison population.

Prison staff implemented rolling lock measures to keep half of the prisoners in the pods at a given time to reduce contact and allow more time for cleaning. Half of the prisoners were allowed outside their cells, while the other half stayed in their cells. Then clean the facility, and then detain the prisoner.

Thompson said: “It allows more social evacuation space. It allows more cleaning time, and if we do have a problem, it can also reduce the number of people who have contact traces and reduce the number of people who interact with it.”

Ordinary prisoners who tested positive have been quarantined, and officials are waiting for follow-up tests to confirm the results. Prisoners in the general population tested positive earlier in the pandemic, but subsequent inspections revealed that this was a false positive.

When the test results came back last week, visits were suspended, and prison officials planned to do so for 14 days. Once the sheriff’s office was able to work with the county health department to obtain best practices, their decision was reversed on Monday. Visits resumed on Tuesday.

Staff must wear masks, and prisoners must wear masks when they are outside the cell. Because Thompson is concerned that asymptomatic staff may be carrying the virus, staff will only work with specific groups. Although employees were tempted and screened before each shift, these agreements did not cause any symptoms.

Later this week, rapid testing equipment will arrive at the prison, which will make the testing of prisoners and staff more frequent and active.


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