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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

SUFFOLK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT TAKING PROACTIVE STEPS AGAINST THREAT OF COVID-19


SUFFOLK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT TAKING PROACTIVE STEPS AGAINST THREAT OF COVID-19

Amidst the global outbreak of COVID-19, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has begun the implementation of proactive measures that are designed to prevent potential exposure to the virus by staff and the men and women in Department care and custody.

The Department is monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation closely, and, thus far, there have been a limited-but-growing number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts. As of March 10th, there was 1 confirmed case and 91 presumptive cases in Massachusetts, with 20 of these cases occurring within the communities of Suffolk County.

In accordance with state guidelines and recommendations, the Department is taking steps to minimize the possible exposure of staff and inmates and detainees, and to maintain a safe work place by reviewing, and where necessary, adopting new practices to protect the health of all employees and inmates while we continue to perform the Department’s mission.

The Department is taking the following steps:

1.     Increasing orders for personal safety equipment, including gloves, masks, hand sanitizers and dispensers, soap and paper towels;
2.     Communicating with staff through postings, roll calls, and e-mails about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and reminding them about effective methods to safeguard against it;
3.     Increasing the regular cleaning and sanitizing of communal surfaces and frequently touched objects;
4.     Disinfecting transport vehicles regularly;
5.     Suspending all inmate/detainee visits, except for attorney visits;
6.     Restricting volunteers and outside program staff and activities;
7.     Coordinating with medical and food vendors to ensure preparedness; and
8.     Developing contingency plans to address the potential needs of the institutions should an inmate(s)/detainee(s) be diagnosed with COVID-19, in addition to a host of other measures.

With respect to the temporary suspension of inmate and detainee visits, the Department will be providing the opportunity for them to make a call to family members and friends to notify them of the temporary suspension. Attorneys will continue to have access to Department facilities for client visits.

For more information concerning visits and/or contacting your friend or loved one, call the House of Correction at: (617) 635-1000 x2007 of the Suffolk County Jail at: (617) 635-1100 x3001.

For additional information about COVID-19, please visit the websites for the Centers for Diseases Control at: www.cdc.gov and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at:  https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

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