WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office has begun implementing preparations and protocols for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Sheriff Tony Thompson, the Black Hawk County Jail started deep cleaning, antimicrobial and disinfection protocols to build a stronger foundation and baseline for defenses against the virus within the inmate population.
Additional medical screenings and evaluations of all arrestees are already underway. Additionally, the jail medical staff has identified current inmates who may need to undergo isolation. There are also plans in place for isolation of incoming arrestees to protect others during the potential incubation period for those screened as “concerning”.
“We are releasing this statement to allow the public to recognize our on-going plans and continuing efforts for addressing the significant issues facing our agency, the public who will interact with our organization, and to ensure that family members of our staff and incarcerated inmates are aware of our extreme efforts and forward thinking and planning for this eventual issue facing our nation,” Sheriff Tony Thompson said.
Staff members have additional personal protective equipment and protocols available.
“Obviously one of our major concerns is the continuity of operations and ensuring that public safety efforts continue. To that end, we have had conversations with our local law enforcement partners to ensure that coverage, cross-coverage, and cooperative efforts will allow for no disruption of emergency services should staffing become compromised as a result of this virus," Thompson added.
Thompson says more extreme measures, including discontinuation of jail visitation, jail programming, reductions in office hours and curtailing of other situations requiring face-to-face interaction are being planned for.