Coronavirus Update: COVID-19 brings changes to jails, prisons

By Michele Newbanks, for The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

MARIETTA, Ohio — Area jails and prisons have plans in place if an inmate shows symptoms of having COVID-19.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said the Washington County Jail had done away with face-to-face visits between family and inmates, even before the pandemic. Visitation occurs through video monitors.

The jail is set up as dormitory-style pods, with 17 or 18 inmates per pod. Each pod has a common room, but inmates are locked up during certain hours.

“If it occurs in a certain cell block, we’d transfer him to a smaller one,” Mincks said. “We have a medical director who would be on-scene to test if they do have symptoms. We may have to transfer them to Marietta Memorial for better care. There are a lot of variables. It all depends on the situation.”

He said the variables include the number of people infected and the severity of the symptoms.

“We have nurses on shift who would start dealing with them if they had symptoms,” Mincks explained. “They would be quarantined if they have minor symptoms.”

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