MUSCATINE — The Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office says it is taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its jail.
“We’re following the guidelines provided by the governor, as well as the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Iowa Department of Public Health,” said Sheriff C.J. Ryan.
This includes only allowing 10 people in their lobby at a time, sanitizing and six-foot social distancing.
Muscatine County jail has a screening processes for incoming inmates. It is done at in-take, coordinated with doctors and on-site nurses at the jail, with the opportunity to isolate anyone with symptoms of the new coronavirus.
The jail hasn't altered visitation. Ryan said current practice avoids face-to-face contact between the inmate and their visitors, so no change was necessary. Visitation hours remain 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday for men inmates, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and 6-8 p.m. Saturdays for women inmates.
“It’s one less stressor for the family,” he said, adding not being able to visit with their family or friends puts an emotional strain on inmates and their loved ones. i
Deputies have already been provided guidelines for social distancing, Ryan said, and they are trying to cut down on face-to-face interactions. This includes trying to solve problems with phone calls when possible.
“We’re just doing the best that we can,” said Ryan.
MUSCOM added procedures to protect their staff. This includes dispatchers asking callers screening questions to determine whether they’ve been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, wearing protective equipment on visits, and only sending one medic at a time with the rest of the response team waiting outside.
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