Roanoke City Sheriff Tim Allen says 12 of his office’s staffers at the city jail have tested positive so far for COVID-19, but no inmates have returned positive tests.
NEWS RELEASE (Boldface edited for emphasis): The Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office administrative team, along with our medical staff, continuously review the CDC Guidelines and Recommendations for Correctional Facilities and adjust our operating procedures accordingly. In conjunction with these procedures, there have been several protective factors put into place to avoid or reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the facility. The measures begin upon entrance to the facility,where all individuals entering the jail receive a non-invasive temperature check by either their supervisors or the nurse stationed at the booking area. They are required to answer questions regarding their potential risk of exposure, and also must wear a mask prior to entering both the Roanoke Sheriff’s Office and the Roanoke City Jail facility. Anyone exhibiting a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, or who are not wearing a face covering, are prohibited from entering the facility. In the event that the person exhibiting a fever or symptoms is an arrestee, they are immediately masked and quarantined in a designated pod for a 14-day monitoring period. All inmates receive a mask upon admission to the facility and are encouraged to wear them while in their assigned pod. However, they are required to wear them while being transported through the jail, such as when they are escorted to the court or medical areas. All incoming inmates also quarantine for a 14-day period prior to being housed in general population. In addition, any inmate returning from the hospital is quarantined for 14 days. Any inmate that complains of a fever and/or symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19, in accordance with CDC guidelines, will be immediately relocated from their current housing location to designated housing for quarantine purposes only. Medical staff will continue to monitor these inmates regularly to ensure their symptoms do not become more severe. The COVID testing is conducted based on CDC recommendations, and will therefore be completed when there is a reasonable suspicion that an inmate has contracted COVID-19 based on symptoms and/or exposure. Our facility is staffed with nurses twenty-four hours a day who have been trained in how to properly respond to respiratory complaints at any time. Due to the proactive screening procedures the department has in place, any symptomatic employees also receive testing.
To date, 12 Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. As a precaution, employees who had the potential for exposure were also sent for testing and quarantined, per consultation with the Virginia Department of Health. Additionally, as of today, there have been 0 inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19. Consistent with our departmental infection control policy, decontamination procedures were followed in the affected areas. The Sheriff’s Office continues enhanced cleaning procedures in the housing units, as well as Sheriff’s Office workspace and public areas. We encourage our staff and inmates to continue practicing good hygiene and extra hand washing. We remain committed to transparent communication with our community, state and regional partners, and to stay abreast of the evolving health and safety recommendations. Our focus continues to remain on reducing the exposure of this virus to our inmates, staff and general public, while conducting the essential functions of the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office