Today marks one full month since the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Suffolk County. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office released the following information today regarding the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the Suffolk County Correctional Facility and Deputy Sheriff Operations.
As of April 7th, twelve Suffolk County Correction Officers have tested positive for COVID-19, along with one Deputy Sheriff. No Sheriff’s Office civilian staff have tested positive, and so far, no inmates have contracted the virus. Of the twelve Correction Officers, most were working in areas with minimal contact with county inmates.
County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr. began implementing stringent procedures in the first week of March to create physical distance between incoming inmates and the general jail population. All inmates are housed in a reception area for 14 days upon entry into the jail and consistently monitored for the signs of illness. They are also given appropriate cleaning supplies. On March 17th, all in-person visitation was canceled, and more stringent precautions were phased in during subsequent weeks. All Correction Officers are required to wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) and have their temperature taken before entering the facility. Deputy Sheriffs are also required to wear PPE.
On LI News Radio today, Sheriff Toulon stated, “I have learned in my experience how quickly infectious disease can make its way through the Correctional system. It is my goal to implement as many protections to keep our staff and inmates as safe as possible. Our officers are on the front lines of this pandemic and I couldn’t be more pleased with how diligent they are about following safety protocols for everyone’s protection. We have a long way to go with this pandemic, but we are doing very well under these very stressful and difficult circumstances.”