Prevent and combat COVID-19 and contagious diseases in corrections

There are three things you should be doing in your facility every day


By Anne Spaulding, MD, MPH

We've heard a lot of talk about the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. It is a Type B coronavirus, which is more dangerous than the type A of coronavirus that causes colds. Type B is like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV and causes much more severe disease.

Preventing COVID-19 in your correctional facility

The most important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is screening and isolating. When we talk about screening, we are not just referring to the people coming into custody but also those who work in a correctional setting. Both can transport the coronavirus into your correctional facility.

There are three things you should be doing in your correctional facility every day:

1. Make sure your staff is not coming in sick with a fever, shortness of breath and/or a cough. If somebody is sick as they report to work, they need to go home. 

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2. Screen offenders who are coming into custody to ensure they do not have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Depending on your circumstances, it is best to have a no-touch means of taking a temperature. If the temperature is over 100.4 degrees, that person requires additional screening.

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3. Know about exposures of individuals or if they have they been in an area where there is transmission ongoing in the community before they come to your facility. Have they been exposed to cases on the outside prior to coming in?

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For more step-by-step advice, including how to keep your facility clean, watch the video below:  

About the author

Anne Spalding, MD, MPH, is a public health physician with a master's in public health from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Spalding has been working in corrections since the mid-1990s.

Post reprinted with permission from the Guardian RFID blog. Guardian RFID would like to thank St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office in Maryland for permitting filming in their facility.

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