COVID-19 Update 7/8/2020
Director Tewalt asked me to send tonight’s COVID-19 update message. It’s been another busy day for our agency and as of about 4pm, our lives just got a little more complicated. As a result of our pre-release testing for everyone leaving an IDOC facility, we have learned that we have one asymptomatic positive individual in our South Idaho Correctional Institution (SICI). This individual was recently released so our staff have already notified him of his test results. It is our protocol to advise anyone who leaves a facility, and has a pending test result, to act as though they are positive and self-quarantine until their results come in. Each person is being given the attached COVID-19 information sheet to help keep themselves and others safe. At the same, we’re working to try to get ahead of the situation so that we have test results in-hand before someone releases to the community and we’re offering additional supports for
people who return to the community and have unexpected needs (like emergency food or hygiene) as a result of needing to quarantine.
This also means, we have activated the Incident Command System at SICI to respond to the positive case. We will follow that same approach as we have been in ISCC, which is to test, trace, and quarantine. Since SICI has been in secure status since July 1st, movement within the facility has been severely restricted and that should help contain any spread that may have occurred. We will continue to monitor residents of SICI closely and immediately test anyone who becomes symptomatic with the ID NOW instrument.
Planned mass staff testing event. A group of dedicated staff have prepared for the ISCC staff testing event that’s planned for tomorrow, Thursday, July 9th and Tuesday, July 14th. Staff who are scheduled to be tested tomorrow have already been notified. Please do not show up at the testing site if you haven’t been scheduled. Our testing capacity is limited by the number of tests that can be processed for us during a week and we are working hard to balance testing the incarcerated population and staff in affected facilities as the priority. We will expand staff testing to include all staff in the south Boise facilities and local P&P districts as soon as we’re able. A special thank you to our on-site staff team headed up by Daina Drake, and our partners Saltzer Health and the VA, for helping to make this happen! Another special thank you needs to be given to Kristina Waldram and her team who have been providing amazing assistance to Corizon staff who are collecting samples from our incarcerated population. These two teams have really stepped up and we can’t thank them enough!
Staff COVID testing results. We had three more staff test positive for COVID-19 today, bringing the total number to 51, which includes one Parole Commission staffer. Anyone who has been in contact with these staff members has been notified by HR. We know that when adversity strikes this agency, you show up and rally to help each other, but we want to remind folks who may be experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms to stay home. In this case, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Mass testing of the incarcerated population. Today, we again leveraged our partnership with the VA to test everyone living in C-block at ISCC, which is approximately 340 people. We hope to have those test results by week’s end. Tomorrow, we’ll test a similar number of people from B-block.
Incarcerated population testing results. We had several additional incarcerated people who tested positive for COVID-19 today. Our totals now stand at 1,190 tested, 18 symptomatic positive, 119 asymptomatic positive, 602 negative, and 451 pending.
Please take care of yourselves and each other.
Bree E. Derrick