Jails preparing ahead of COVID-19

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(WEHT)- As people preparing just in case the coronavirus is to hit the Tri-State, jails are making changes to limit exposure to staff and inmates. Including the Vanderburgh County Jail.

normally visitors would be able to come inside the Vanderburgh County Jail to video chat with the inmates but with this new change in protocol only essential employees are going to be allowed inside.

Large populations and the potential for the coronavirus to spread. Jail officials in the Tri-State are getting ready just in case. Starting with changes to visitation.

“The reason we’re doing that is just to minimize the risk of exposure to our staff who work around a large clientele of inmates,” Sheriff Dave

And Vanderburgh County isn’t alone. Posey, Gibson, and Henderson counties are also putting restrictions on visitation. All four jails provide video visitation that can be done from home.

Henderson County is taking it a step further to make sure no one’s getting sick. Jailer Amy Brady says they are checking employees for a fever before they come in. Sheriff Wedding says if a staff member were to contract COVID-19 it could hurt their day to day operations.

“That would put us in a terrible situation by us not being able to staff the jail,” Wedding explains.

But unlike schools and libraries, Wedding says jails have to stay open.

“We are a function that has to exist, so we can’t just shut down.”

Sheriff Dave Wedding says the goal is to limit the amount of exposure to both inmates and staff.
Wedding says Monday he plans to meet with the staff at the civic center to see what can be done there to minimize exposure.

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(This story was originally published on March 15, 2020

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