WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) — An inmate at the Winnebago County Jail has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the sheriff's office Sunday afternoon.
The man in his 40s has been in custody at the jail since March 30. He is being held on domestic battery charges and a parole violation from the Department of Corrections, according to Sheriff Gary Caruana.
The inmate, which isn't named, was housed in a single cell at the time he became symptomatic.
The sheriff's office says procedures are in place to protect the health and safety of inmates. First, all new inmates are screened for COVID-19. Symptomatic and asymptomatic inmates are isolated from the general population in separate pods. Prior to placing an asymptomatic inmate into general population, they are housed in a quarantine pod for at least 14 days. There is no movement in or out of those pods, and inmates are re-screened and assessed prior to further movement within the facility. Any inmates with COVID-19 symptoms are also placed in medical quarantine and are tested for the virus. Positive cases are isolated from the general population and, if symptoms warrant, will be transferred to a hospital for care.
Sheriff Caruana says the sheriff's office takes guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the jail continues to undergo regular, comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting. All detainees are required to wear PPE when they leave their pods.
"The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and University of Illinois College of Medicine Correctional Health Care Services are working closely to monitor and screen officers for symptoms when they report to work," officials said in a news release Sunday. "Visitor restrictions have also been in place at the jail for several weeks and will continue to be enforced to limit the spread of the virus."
“Even before the virus was detected in Winnebago County, our Corrections staff implemented procedures to keep inmates and officers in the facility safe from the illness. We continue to follow guidelines from the CDC, IDPH and the Winnebago County Health Department to ensure we take every precaution to keep the virus contained. The health and safety of all the citizens in our community is of the utmost importance and we will do whatever we can to limit the spread of the illness within the jail population, especially to those who are most vulnerable to adverse outcomes."Sheriff Gary Caruana