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Maricopa County puts plan into place to reduce spread of COVID-19 in detention facilities

Florence Prison
Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 01:33:39-04

Maricopa County jail and health care officials released more information about plans to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their detention facilities.

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The keys behind both plans focus on screening inmates and staff before they enter county jails as well as reducing the population of detainees and employees.

“We understand that a quarantine is not realistic,” said Dr. Grant Phillips, medical director of the county’s correctional healthcare department, in a virtual news briefing. “We have implemented several proactive measures.”

As of Friday, the county said it has not had any positive cases of inmates. So far, 28 have been tested, all negative except with seven results still pending.

Those seven inmates are being medically observed, Phillips said.

County officials did not provide the number of jail employees who have been sent home after failing self-screenings before entering work.

Phillips said those who have symptoms are told to go home and not report to work.

The Sheriff’s Office, which did not participate in the briefing, also released a bullet-point style update of its actions.

Sheriff’s officials highlighted the reduction in the inmate population and the continued decrease of incoming bookings.

County leaders said that will help manage potential outbreaks.

FULL SECTION: Everything you need to know about coronavirus

“Our count is low right now, so we do have space to create these isolated systems,” said communications director Fields Moseley, referring to the ability to isolate and quarantine sick inmates.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at