A Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division officer has tested positive for COVID-19 after falling ill with symptoms of the virus.
Kitsap County Sheriff Gary Simpson was notified of the news last week and the officer is currently recovering at home and will remain on home isolation until cleared to return to duty, according to a press release. The affected officer was last at work on March 15, according to KCSO spokesman Scott Wilson. Upon being notified of the positive test, KCSO has initiated several measures in accordance with its infectious disease emergency plan, such as:
- Notifying the Kitsap Public Health District, Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, Kitsap County Department of Administrative Services – Risk Management, and Kitsap County Human Resources Department.
- KCSO has also activated a response team to document the actions/movements of the affected corrections officers during their tours of duty in the jail to determine whom they may have contacted.
- Working with the assistance of the Kitsap Public Health District those individuals whom the officer may have contacted will be notified and provided with guidelines for possible COVID-19 exposure, as outlined by the Washington State Department of Health.
- During this past week the sheriff, working with the Kitsap County prosecuting attorney and the county’s courts, has taken measures to reduce the jail inmate population through revised jail intake/booking standards and the judicial processes of the courts.
- With a reduced jail population, the sheriff’s corrections division has established an isolation inmate housing unit for prisoners with illness symptoms. Jail inmates housed in this unit will be monitored frequently by jail medical service providers.
- Utilizing deep sanitization processes for prisoner housing units along with jail administrative and workspaces.
“COVID-19 developments are occurring very rapidly,” the release stated. “The sheriff’s executive staff continually assesses the sheriff’s office role to respond and provide essential public safety services and determine how best to support Kitsap County residents. Further updates will be announced as this emergency progresses.”
According to Wilson, no jail inmates have been tested thus far for COVID-19. In preparation for any inmates who do test positive for COVID-19, show symptoms or are considered to have been in contact with someone who has the virus, the jail will set up two separate inmate housing units, one for 8 people and the other for 12 people.