Kendall County Sheriff Al Auxier said he has had to make some procedural changes in his department to comply with COVID-19 protocols.
He said generally speaking he’s trying to follow the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through simple things like outfitting employees with hand sanitizer, staying out of residences whenever possible and practicing good hand-washing etiquette.
But his office has had to change some behaviors inside the detention facility with social distancing and inmate hygiene. Typically, when an inmate comes in, he or she is put in a holding cell until that person can be processed.
Until now, if an inmate was going to be booked and stay for a period of time, the inmate would be showered and dressed after processing. Now, Auxier said that happens on the front end as soon as he or she comes in. The sheriff’s office also changed its screening process to check temperatures and ask about potential exposure and recent travel.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep our people and our inmates safe,” Auxier said.
He said the jail already has strict protocols for inmates presenting symptoms of tuberculosis and influenza, and if an inmate posed a threat with COVID-19 he or she would be placed in a negative pressure cell with heating and cooling systems separate from the rest of the building.
“They’d be quarantined, so to speak,” Auxier said.
The sheriff said none of the negative pressure cells are being used to house inmates right now.
“We’re trying to protect everybody as best we can,” he said.