MIAMI COUNTY — In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak is implementing new procedures to protect against potential outbreaks of the virus at the Miami County Jail or the Incarceration Facility (IF), as well as new precautions to protect deputies and the public when deputies are investigating incidents. Duchak is also encouraging the public not to hoard items, saying stores will restock.
According to a press release, the following actions are being taken in response to the coronavirus:
• Jail operations
Jails will be sanitized at least three times a day in all areas commonly touched by inmates and staff, i.e. door knobs, tables, faucets, etc. This started last week.
All jail visitations have been suspended. The sheriff’s office is negotiating with its phone vendor to lower the video conferencing rates for inmates and to afford all inmates one free session each week. Additional mail privileges have been enacted at no cost to inmate.
All new rentals of empty jail beds have been suspended.
Additional sanitation supplies, latex gloves, and other items have been ordered.
All staff, new inmates, and professional visitors are screened prior to entry into jail to include temperatures being taken. This procedure of taking temperatures of those entering buildings is also expected to be extended to the security checkpoints at the Safety Building at large, where the downtown jail is also housed, and the Miami County Courthouse, but it is currently unknown when that may take place.
All inmate programming not court ordered has been suspended. All courts are utilizing more video conferencing for hearings.
Should inmates fall ill to the coronavirus, Duchak said they are already preparing for the possibility of separating those inmates from the rest of the jail and/or IF inmate population.
“We do have limited isolation space for inmates who may test positive. Our medical staff is on top of it,” Duchak said.
• Patrol operations
Cruisers, office space, phones, and door knobs are being sanitized as frequently as possible. Sanitizing equipment is being purchased to “fog” cruisers for better sanitation.
Minor property crimes and other similar crimes are being handled on the phone by deputies instead of in-person. On calls in which a deputy responds, the sheriff’s office asks the caller meet the deputy outside if practical.
• Support staff
Two support staff employees will be working from home starting at the end of this week.
All employees are following “universal precautions,” which are additional precautions taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and are attempting to limit contact with other persons as much as possible.
• Additional info
Duchak is also asking the public to remain calm, such as in regard to the increased shopping in response to the coronavirus that has emptied some store shelves.
“I would ask that residents not panic and not hoard items as this only hurts our neighbors,” Duchak said in a press release. “Everything that I have learned is that there is plenty of supplies for supermarkets, and we should start seeing shelves re-stocked with most supplies soon.”
The sheriff’s office is also preparing to step up with helping deliver food and other supplies to at-risk people, such as the county’s seniors. Duchak said he has assigned Captain Tom Wheeler to reach out to various food pantries, churches, Meals on Wheels type programs, etc. to learn if they are in need of transportation to drop off medical supplies and groceries to that segment of the population. If so, deputies will drop off supplies on the porch, again limiting any contact. If any organization could use transportation assistance with that type food of program please contact Captain Wheeler at 937-440-6085 EXT. 6620 or email at [email protected].
“Local government is doing all that is possible to continue to serve residents,” Duchak said. “Please continue to follow all health department guidelines for sanitation and limit contact with other persons. There are going to continue to be disruptions in all of our lives, but working together, we will get through this. I will continue to keep residents updated as timely as possible.”