FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 19, 2020

Efforts in Travis County Jails Regarding COVID-19

Extensive measures are being taken at both the Travis County Jail and the Travis County Correctional Complex in an effort to protect against an outbreak of COVID-19 among inmates and staff. 

Protecting inmates and staff from viral outbreaks is nothing new for our jail system. Whether it be the flu, a “stomach bug” or the common cold, we work to keep the facilities clean and sterilize common areas to prevent the spread of illness. COVID-19 is certainly on the minds of all inside our jail facilities and keeping a clean, sterile environment is something our staff is even more committed to. Sanitization of Central Booking is occurring 3 times a shift. This includes all flat
surfaces and common touchpoints. Hand Sanitizer is available to all at the entrance and throughout the facility and a sink has been installed in the sally port so anyone may wash their hands when entering or exiting the building.

Everyone entering our secure correctional perimeters, including employees, is being screened at the entrance and anyone with a temperature of 99.6 or greater is not allowed into the facility. 

When arrestees are brought to Central Booking, they’re asked a series of questions according to CDC recommendations. Anyone suspected of COVID-19 symptoms is isolated. Medical staff triage the inmate and if deemed necessary, isolation is continued.

Our doctors follow Austin Public Health guidelines and COVID-19 tests are administered to inmates by our physicians based on those guidelines. Inmates needing isolation are being housed away from the rest of the population in negative air flow cells.

To date, three inmates have been quarantined for observation. As of this morning, two have been cleared, leaving only one still under observation. 

We will continue to work with all entities to minimize traffic into our facility. We are changing our procedures anytime there is a new recommendation by CDC, State, County or Jail Standards.

Our containment strategies are as follows:

TCSO Quarantine Implementation Overview
Purpose: In the event of an outbreak of a serious communicable disease, the TCSO shall institute quarantine procedures in coordination with state and local health officials, with the purpose of preventing the spread of disease.

Definitions: 

Quarantine refers to the procedure of separating and restricting the movement of persons who are not sick, yet who were exposed to a contagious disease in order to quickly identify those who will become sick. The term quarantine is distinct from the term isolation.
Isolation refers to the procedure of separating a person who is already sick from others who are not ill in order to prevent the spread of disease.
Incubation period of the Coronavirus is 14 days (length of time between an exposure to an ill person and the development of symptoms in another person).

Procedure:
I. TCSO is prepared to implement four levels of quarantine: 1) Individual; 2) Unit; 3)
Facility; or 4) Inter-Facility.
II. An inmate may be assigned to quarantine by a medical provider.
III. Isolation and quarantine shall be by the least restrictive means necessary to
prevent the spread of a contagious or possibly contagious disease that poses a
significant risk to the health and security of the institution.
LEVELS OF QUARANTINE
I
Individual
level
Exposed individual is booked
into a TCSO facility
Quarantine of an exposed individual to include
single cell housing, in-cell meals, restriction of
movement, and separation from congregate activities
for duration of incubation period.
II
Unit level
An ill individual is identified
in a single unit
Quarantine of all inmates in a unit with restriction
of movement to within the unit, in-unit meals,
separation from congregate activities outside the
unit for the duration of the incubation period.
III
Facility
level
Multiple ill individuals are
identified in separate modules or
areas
Quarantine of all inmates in an exposed facility to
include restriction of movement to and from the
facility for the duration of the incubation period.
IV
Inter-facility
level
An ill individual is identified
after movement between
facilities during the infectious
period
Quarantine of exposed inmates in multiple units
within multiple facilities with restriction of
movement to and from the facilities/units, and
separation of exposed inmates from congregate
activities.
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Submitted By: Kristen Dark, Sr. Public Information Officer (512) 854-4986

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