Special to T&D
The Orangeburg County Detention Center has added safety measures to keep the number of COVID-19 cases as low as possible, according to a press release from the county.
“Orangeburg County continues to seriously monitor COVID-19 and our county’s operations to ensure the safety of our inmates and staff,” the statement said. “The county will always do what it can to keep everyone’s safety and best interests first.”
Inmate visits and phone calls are currently suspended for 14 days due to the high transmission rate of the new variant, proximity and shared communication equipment.
This will be reassessed after 14 days.
Orangeburg County said the decision was made in consultation with its chief medical officer. He says there is a “small number of inmates and positive staff” at the prison.
COVID-19 tests are carried out frequently on all inmates and staff.
Detention center staff are tested and discharged home if they show symptoms of COVID-19, and can return to work when symptoms subside according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and recommendations from the Department of Health and the Control of the environment of SC.
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Incoming inmates are placed in personal protective equipment, admission is completed, and COVID-19 testing is completed.
A COVID-negative test will place the inmate in a quarantine housing unit for 10 days. The detainee will have to wear a mask.
A COVID-positive inmate will stay in a reservation cell for five days with a mask.
COVID-positive inmates will be closely monitored with vital signs taken daily by a member of the medical staff.
COVID-positive patients who are symptomatic or at high risk will be evaluated by a physician.
After the five days, the inmate will retake the test. A negative test will place the masked inmate in the quarantine accommodation unit, and a positive test will keep the masked inmate in the reservation cell.
The detainees will be retested before being released into the general population.
Detainees are provided with a mask to use when leaving the accommodation units and while in the quarantine area. Inmates leaving the institution are given PPE to be worn properly to help mitigate any possible exposure.
Medical staff at the detention center provide a vaccination clinic within the facility for detainees wishing to be vaccinated.
Air purification technology, including HVAC unit ionizers and portable HEPA air purification systems with UV lamps, were received and put to use following a grant awarded to the county by the SC Department of Public Safety in 2021.