Monday, April 13, 2020 – With an average daily inmate population of approximately 7,500 individuals, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services (CHS) is responsible for providing medical, dental, and mental health services for all individuals incarcerated within the Maricopa County Jail System. (*Note: Currently, the average daily inmate population is 5,500.)
To prevent or mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 in any of the County jails, CHS has been working closely with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to implement a comprehensive infection control strategy to ensure that inmates who become ill are managed appropriately, including daily visits and ensuring separation from those who are well.
As of Friday, April 10:
- 28 patients have been tested.
- 21 tests have been returned as negative for COVID-19.
- 7 patients are currently in medical observation while results are pending.
At a news conference today, CHS Medical Director Dr. Grant Phillips stated, “We are appreciative of steps taken by the courts and sheriff’s office to reduce the number of individuals coming and going from jail facilities each day. This has greatly reduced the risk to those living and working in those facilities. However, we understand that a complete quarantine is not realistic and therefore we have implemented several proactive measures to ensure the safety of those who work and live within these facilities.”
Dr. Phillips went on to say, “We understand that for those with family members and loved ones in our facilities, this is a difficult and scary time. However, we are committed to providing high-quality, professional medical services to your loved ones and we will use every resource at our disposal to protect those in our care.”
Proactive measures taken by CHS include:
- There is daily monitoring of staff for fever and symptoms. Staff are sent home if any symptoms develop.
- Any inmate entering a facility undergoes additional screening at the time of intake to determine the presence of fever, respiratory infection, recent travel, or contact with persons who are known to be infected with COVID-19.
- Symptomatic inmates are being evaluated by a healthcare provider, placed in medical observation, and tested if their symptoms are consistent with COVID-19.
- In the event an inmate has a positive screening test for COVID-19, they will be rapidly triaged and transported to a medical facility if necessary.
- Inmates who are exposed to someone with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 are being placed in quarantine and monitored for symptoms.