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Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Guidance for Correctional Facilities and Department of Corrections Actions

Posted: 8/7/2020, 10:27AM, Updated: 8/13/2020, 1:21PM, Updated: 05/12/2021, 1:12PM

About

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on management of COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities is organized into three sections: Operational Preparedness, Prevention, and Management of COVID-19. Recommendations across these sections should be applied simultaneously based on the progress of the outbreak in a particular facility and the surrounding community.

Since March 2020, the Department of Corrections has continued to take proactive actions utilizing the guidance of the CDC and Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Corrections' actions are listed with the respective CDC guidelines.

The CDC guidance and Corrections' Actions represented on this page are based on the July 2020 guidance.

Operational Preparedness

This guidance is intended to help facilities prepare for potential SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the facility. Strategies focus on operational and communications planning, training, and personnel practices.

Administrators can plan and prepare for COVID-19 by ensuring that all persons in the facility know the symptoms of COVID-19 and the importance of reporting those symptoms if they develop. Other essential actions include developing contingency plans for reduced workforces due to absences, coordinating with public health and correctional partners, training staff on proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be needed in the course of their duties, and communicating clearly with staff and incarcerated/detained persons about these preparations and how they may temporarily alter daily life.

Communication and Coordination

Develop information-sharing systems with partners.

CDC Guidance

Identify points of contact in relevant state, local, tribal, and/or territorial public health departments before SARS-CoV-2 infections develop. Actively engage with the health department to understand in advance which entity has jurisdiction to implement public health control measures for COVID-19 in a particular correctional or detention facility

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is in continuous contact with tribal partners, health departments, and state and local resources. The Emergency Operations Manager partakes in weekly State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meetings which provides the agency with contact to many local resources. Additionally, the emergency operations manager attends a bi-weekly health care coordination call which connects Corrections to the Eastern Washington medical community resources and all correctional facilities are now having ongoing conversations with their local health jurisdictions.

CDC Guidance

Create and test communications plans to disseminate critical information to incarcerated/detained persons, staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors as the pandemic progresses.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections implemented the Joint Information Center (JIC) in March 2020 to create a comprehensive and streamlined communication process for the COVID-19 pandemic response. The JIC is the point for communication dissemination and provides updates to staff, incarcerated and stakeholders as the pandemic and the pandemic response progresses. Additionally, Corrections implemented weekly information sharing phone calls with respective local family councils to share local facility information with family members about the COVID-19 response. Each facility is also sending communication to their populations regarding local facility response and procedure updates.

CDC Guidance

Communicate with other correctional facilities in the same geographic area to share information including disease surveillance and absenteeism patterns among staff.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections had conversations with jail jurisdictions in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, leadership from all 12 correctional facilities virtually meet three times per week to discuss weekly updates and changes to current protocols or practices.

CDC Guidance

Where possible, put plans in place with other jurisdictions to prevent individuals with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 and their close contacts from being transferred between jurisdictions and facilities unless necessary for medical evaluation, medical isolation/quarantine, clinical care, extenuating security concerns, release, or to prevent overcrowding.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has been in communication with the jails and has been able to reduce intake to every other week, which effectively reduced overcrowding and allows for medical resources to be as available as possible to the population. Corrections has also implemented an enhanced screening protocol and a seperatation intake process for all intakes of other jurisdictions to prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington State correctional facilities. For any individual entering the corrections system from the community, Corrections has created an intake separation process which includes separation from the existing population until two negative COVID-19 test results for that individual have been received.

Supporting Documentation:

CDC Guidance

Stay informed about updates to CDC guidance via the CDC COVID-19 website as more information becomes known.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections established an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and this team frequently evaluates and reviews the CDC guidance pertaining to detention centers to ensure that the agency is implementing the most effective and updated precautionary measures and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Review existing influenza, all-hazards, and disaster plans, and revise for COVID-19.

CDC Guidance

Train staff on the facility’s COVID-19 plan. All personnel should have a basic understanding of COVID-19, how the disease is thought to spread, what the symptoms of the disease are, and what measures are being implemented and can be taken by individuals to prevent or minimize the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Corrections' Actions

The Unified Prisons/Health Services Command has tasked all facilities with implementing table top COVID-19 outbreak scenarios with every shift at every facility on at least a monthly reoccurring basis. Corrections has also required that the superintendent of each facility be active participants in these exercises.

CDC Guidance

Ensure that separate physical locations (dedicated housing areas and bathrooms) have been identified to 1) isolate individuals with confirmed COVID-19 (individually or cohorted), 2) isolate individuals with suspected COVID-19 (individually – do not cohort), and 3) quarantine close contacts of those with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (ideally individually; cohorted if necessary). The plan should include contingencies for multiple locations if numerous infected individuals and/or close contacts are identified and require medical isolation or quarantine simultaneously. See Medical Isolation and Quarantine sections below for more detailed cohorting considerations.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented isolated areas for these scenarios at each facility. Each medical isolation area is established to individually isolate each individual with confirmed COVID-19 or presenting symptoms of COVID-19. Individuals placed onto quarantine status are quarantined in their current housing environment if possible, and if not, will be moved to a designated quarantine area.

CDC Guidance

Facilities without onsite healthcare capacity should make a plan for how they will ensure that individuals with suspected COVID-19 will be isolated, evaluated, tested, and provided necessary medical care.

Corrections' Actions

Each Washington State correctional facility has identified specific spaces to house individuals who are placed on medical isolation due to suspicion of or confirmed COVID-19 where they will be evaluated, tested, and provided necessary medical care.

Supporting Documentation

CDC Guidance

Make a list of possible social distancing strategies that could be implemented as needed at different stages of transmission intensity.

Corrections' Actions

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has put together plans to encourage social distancing, where permissible, in each Washington State correctional facility. Due to infrastructure, these measures may vary per facility.

CDC Guidance

Designate officials who will be authorized to make decisions about escalating or de-escalating response efforts as the disease transmission patterns change.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has designated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to be authorized to make decisions about escalating or de-escalating response efforts as the disease transmission patterns change.

Coordinate with local law enforcement and court officials.

CDC Guidance

Identify legally acceptable alternatives to in-person court appearances, such as virtual court, as a social distancing measure to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections works with each court as they are requesting court appearances during this time. If the facility can accommodate a virtual court appearance, and the court is amenable, the facility will do so. If the facility does not have the capability, or the court is not amenable, they will work with the court to adhere to the precautionary measures put into place by the specific court to conduct an in-person appearance. If it is an immediate need, Corrections and the courts will work to find a solution that works with each individual court.

CDC Guidance

Consider options to prevent overcrowding (e.g., diverting new intakes to other facilities with available capacity, and encouraging alternatives to incarceration and other decompression strategies where allowable).

Corrections' Actions

Corrections implemented additional and alternative housing locations in all stand-alone and co-located minimum custody facilities to encourage greater social distancing and to lessen the numbers for individualized cohorts. Examples of locations that were turned into alternate housing locations: extended family visit trailers, chapel areas, library areas, gym areas, etc. Additionally, Corrections reduced the intake of the violator population to every other week and was able to reduce the number of individuals sleeping on the ground and overcrowding at intake to zero for a substantial period of time.

Encourage all persons in the facility to take the following actions to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Post signs throughout the facility and communicate this information verbally on a regular basis. Sample signage and other communications materials are available on the CDC website. Ensure that materials can be understood by non-English speakers and those with low literacy and make necessary accommodations for those with cognitive or intellectual disabilities and those who are deaf, blind, or have low-vision.

CDC Guidance

For all:

  • Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow (or ideally with a tissue) rather than with your hand when you cough or sneeze, and throw all tissues in the trash immediately after use.
  • Practice good hand hygiene: Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose; after using the bathroom; before eating; before and after preparing food; before taking medication; and after touching garbage.
  • Wear face coverings, unless PPE is indicated.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth without cleaning your hands first.
  • Avoid sharing eating utensils, dishes, and cups.
  • Avoid non-essential physical contact.
Corrections' Actions

Posters are posted throughout all facilities and in all housing units. Facilities are continuously reminded of posters and signage requirements during weekly Incident Command Post calls.

All COVID-19 posters are translated in English and Spanish languages. In March, the ADA compliance manager sent an email to all ADA coordinators requesting they identify all individuals who require assistance understanding English/Spanish posted documentation and to provide support to those individuals for understanding all COVID-19 related documentation.

CDC Guidance

For incarcerated/detained persons: the importance of reporting symptoms to staff; social distancing and its importance for preventing COVID-19; the purpose of quarantine and medical isolation

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has distributed memos about the importance of practicing the CDC recommended social distancing and face covering protocols. Additionally, facility superintendents are reminding staff and incarcerated individuals of the importance of reporting symptoms and the medical necessity for medical isolation status and quarantine status. Kiosk messages, tier rep meetings, and verbal communication have been the main source of this communication distribution. Corrections also identified individuals who were classified as high-risk incarcerated individuals and individually contacted these individuals to inform them of their ability to instigate a self-quarantine.

Supporting Documentation:

CDC Guidance

For staff: stay at home when sick; if symptoms develop while on duty, leave the facility as soon as possible and follow CDC-recommended steps for persons who are ill with COVID-19 symptoms including self-isolating at home, contacting their healthcare provider as soon as possible to determine whether they need to be evaluated and tested, and contacting their supervisor.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections continues to encourage the staff working for the agency to stay home if they are sick and to contact their medical provider if they have been in contact with an individual sick or suspected of having COVID-19 or if they themselves develop symptoms of COVID-19. The agency has provided additional emergency leave to help encourage staff to stay home and support individuals who are screened out during the enhanced screening process. Additionally, Corrections is expanding staff serial testing procedures.

Supporting Documentation:

Personnel Practices

Review the sick leave policies of each employer that operates within the facility.

CDC Guidance
  • Review policies to ensure that they are flexible, non-punitive, and actively encourage staff not to report to work when sick.
  • Determine which officials will have the authority to send symptomatic staff home.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented emergency leave for qualifying individuals to utilize due to being screened out of their work location or testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. All supervisory staff have been advised to encourage ANY persons to stay home if they are feeling ill, and if there is a question, they have authority to send the staff member home, as is agency’s normal protocol. Corrections has implemented enhanced screening protocols at the entrance of all state correctional facilities and work release locations. Corrections also agreed to pay contract staff, who may be screened out due to the screening process, to encourage those staff to stay home if they are ill.

Identify duties that can be performed remotely.

CDC Guidance

Where possible, allowing staff to work from home can be an effective social distancing strategy to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections was able to identify and deploy an impactful amount of staff to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Corrections is encouraging staff and leadership to find ways to encourage those who are considered high-risk to take on a modified at-home work assignment if their current position is not able to be completed from home, until further notice.

Plan for staff absences.

CDC Guidance

Staff should stay home when they are sick, or they may need to stay home to care for a sick household member or care for children in the event of school and childcare dismissals.

  • Identify critical job functions and plan for alternative coverage.
  • Determine minimum levels of staff in all categories required for the facility to function safely. If possible, develop a plan to secure additional staff if absenteeism due to COVID-19 threatens to bring staffing to minimum levels.
  • Review CDC guidance on safety practices for critical infrastructure workers (including correctional officers, law enforcement officers, and healthcare workers) who continue to work after a potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
  • Consider increasing keep on person (KOP) medication orders to cover 30 days in case of healthcare staff shortages.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has critical staffing models in place that will be implemented if necessary to ensure that all Washington State correctional facilities remain fully operational. Leadership advised supervisory staff to ensure there are back up staff for each position and job duty in the event that an individual is not able to return to work for a period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consider offering revised duties to staff who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

CDC Guidance

Persons at increased risk may include older adults and persons of any age with serious underlying medical conditions including lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, severe obesity, and diabetes. See CDC’s website for a complete list and check regularly for updates as more data become available.

  • Consult with occupational health providers to determine whether it would be allowable to reassign duties for specific staff members to reduce their likelihood of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Corrections' Actions

Supervisors were advised early in the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that all staff who are considered persons at risk are encouraged to work from home. If working from home was not a feasible option due to their current job position, a temporary at-home assignment is to be assigned to the individual until further notice.

Supporting Documentation:

Make plans in advance for how to change staff duty assignments to prevent unnecessary movement between housing units during a COVID-19 outbreak.

CDC Guidance
  • If there are persons with COVID-19 inside the facility, it is essential for staff members to maintain a consistent duty assignment in the same area of the facility across shifts to prevent transmission across different facility areas.
  • Where feasible, consider the use of telemedicine to evaluate persons with COVID-19 symptoms and other health conditions to limit the movement of healthcare staff across housing units.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has tasked each supervisor to create a contingency plan for each unit in the event a COVID-19 outbreak affects their unit workloads. Each situation is additionally being assessed on a case-by-case basis for review and temporary at-home work assignments are given if applicable to the individual due to being screened out of a facility or testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Offer the seasonal influenza vaccine to all incarcerated/detained persons (existing population and new intakes) and staff throughout the influenza season.

CDC Guidance

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of influenza. Preventing influenza in a facility can speed the detection of COVID-19 and reduce pressure on healthcare resources.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections offers the flu vaccination each year to the incarcerated population and staff during flu season.

Reference the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website for recommendations regarding worker health.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections’ references several health and safety regulatory agencies, laws and recommendations, including but not limited to, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) and the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) regarding worker health recommendations.

Review CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers

CDC Guidance

Review CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers to identify any additional strategies the facility can use within its role as an employer, or share with others.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is consistently reviewing the CDC guidelines for direction and guidance during the agency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations, Supplies, and PPE Preparations

Ensure that sufficient stocks of hygiene supplies, cleaning supplies, PPE, and medical supplies (consistent with the healthcare capabilities of the facility) are on hand and available and have a plan in place to restock as needed.

CDC Guidance
  • Standard medical supplies for daily clinic needs
  • Tissues
  • Liquid or foam soap when possible. If bar soap must be used, ensure that it does not irritate the skin and thereby discourage frequent hand washing
  • Ensure a sufficient supply of soap for each individual
  • Hand drying supplies
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (where permissible based on security restrictions)
  • Cleaning supplies, including EPA-registered disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Recommended PPE (surgical masks, N95 respirators, eye protection, disposable medical gloves, and disposable gowns/one-piece coveralls). See PPE section and Table 1 for more detailed information, including recommendations for extending the life of all PPE categories in the event of shortages, and when surgical masks are acceptable alternatives to N95s. Visit CDC’s website for a calculator to help determine rate of PPE usage.
  • Cloth face coverings
  • SARS-CoV-2 specimen collection and testing supplies
Corrections' Actions

Each facility has a procedure locally that ensures that each facility has sufficient cleaning supplies available to their facility. These supplies have been ordered in abundance due to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Additionally, Headquarters has implemented a process for ordering additional PPE as needed through the WA State Emergency Operations Center and that memo was distributed to all facilities.

Supporting Documentation:

Make contingency plans for possible PPE shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for non-healthcare workers.

CDC Guidance

See CDC guidance optimizing PPE supplies.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is requiring all facilities to report their on-hand stock of PPE each week to Headquarters. All facilities are maintaining a 90-day supply in their facility at this time. Headquarters has implemented a process for ordering additional PPE through the WA State Emergency Operations Center and that memo was distributed to all facilities. Additionally, the incarcerated are producing face coverings, surgical gowns, and face shields to help prevent the possible shortages that could happen in our facilities. These PPE items are also being provided in some areas to the public to assist with community shortages.

Supporting Documentation:

Consider relaxing restrictions on allowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the secure setting, where security concerns allow.

CDC Guidance

If soap and water are not available, CDC recommends cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Consider allowing staff to carry individual-sized bottles for their personal hand hygiene while on duty, and placing dispensers at facility entrances/exits and in PPE donning/doffing stations.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections relaxed restrictions on alcohol-based hand sanitizer and made policy allowances for staff to utilize alcohol-based hand sanitizer in secured locations. Incarcerated individuals have been allowed use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in specific, supervised locations where hand washing is not readily available.

Provide a no-cost supply of soap to incarcerated/detained persons, sufficient to allow frequent hand washing.

CDC Guidance

(See Hygiene section below for additional detail regarding recommended frequency and protocol for hand washing.)

  • Provide liquid or foam soap where possible. If bar soap must be used, ensure that it does not irritate the skin and thereby discourage frequent hand washing, and ensure that individuals do not share bars of soap.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections began offering complimentary bars of soap to incarcerated individuals in April 2020. Since the first distribution of soap, the agency has continued to distribute bars of soap as requested by indiviudals and has ensured that all common spaces and bathroom areas are stocked with proper hand washing resources, to include soap and warm water.

Supporting Documentation:

If not already in place, employers operating within the facility should establish a respiratory protection program as appropriate, to ensure that staff and incarcerated/detained persons are fit-tested for any respiratory protection they will need within the scope of their responsibilities.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections’ policy 890.090 Respirator Program (pdf) has established a respiratory protection program, which requires current fit testing for employees, contract staff, and incarcerated individuals to wear respiratory protection devices.

Ensure that staff and incarcerated/detained persons are trained to correctly don, doff, and dispose of PPE that they will need to use within the scope of their responsibilities.

CDC Guidance
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented training documents for all staff and incarcerated indiviudals who are required to wear PPE at any time.

Supporting Documentation:

Prepare to set up designated PPE donning and doffing areas outside all spaces where PPE will be used.

CDC Guidance

These spaces should include:

  • A dedicated trash can for disposal of used PPE
  • A hand washing station or access to alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • A poster demonstrating correct PPE donning and doffing procedures
Corrections' Actions

All Washington State correctional facilities have designated PPE donning and doffing areas outside of all spaces where PPE will be used. These areas all have a no-touch trash receptacle for disposal of PPE, hand washing stations and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, posters demonstrating correct PPE donning and doffing procedures, and a copy of the PPE Matrix provided by medical staff.

Supporting Documentation:

Review CDC and EPA guidance for cleaning and disinfecting of the facility.

Corrections' Actions

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) designated a team of headquarters staff to evaluate the cleaning protocols and products being used and ensuring that they are effective against preventing the spread of COVID-19 per the CDC and EPA guidance.

Supporting Documentation:

Prevention

This guidance is intended to help facilities prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2 within the facility and between the community and the facility. Strategies focus on reinforcing hygiene practices; intensifying cleaning and disinfection of the facility; regular symptom screening for new intakes, visitors, and staff; continued communication with incarcerated/detained persons and staff; social distancing measures; as well as, testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals in correctional and detention facilities.

Because many individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 do not display symptoms, the virus could be present in facilities before infections are identified. Good hygiene practices, vigilant symptom screening, wearing cloth face coverings (if able), and social distancing are critical in preventing further transmission.

Testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and initiating medical isolation for suspected and confirmed cases and quarantine for close contacts, can help prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Operations

Stay in communication with partners about your facility’s current situation.

CDC Guidance

Stay in communication with partners about your facility’s current situation.

  • State, local, territorial, and/or tribal health departments
  • Other correctional facilities
Corrections' Actions

Corrections had conversations with jail jurisdictions in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leadership from all 12 correctional facilities meet virtually three times per week to discuss weekly updates and changes to current protocols or practices. The agency medical staff are in constant communication with local health departments, and additionally, the tribal liaison is in constant communication with tribal stakeholders.

Communicate with the public about any changes to facility operations, including visitation programs.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections initiated weekly phone calls between each Washington State correctional facility and the local family council members to give weekly facility updates and answer questions and concerns pertaining to the facility and the COVID-19 response. All facilities are posting these informational call notes on the local family council webpages. Additionally, Corrections is updating the significant events timeline each business day with daily operational updates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, Corrections posts updates about its COVID-19 response, including links to memos, on its twitter social media account.

Limit transfers of incarcerated/detained persons to and from other jurisdictions and facilities unless necessary for medical evaluation, medical isolation/quarantine, clinical care, extenuating security concerns, release, or to prevent overcrowding.

CDC Guidance
  • Consider postponing non-urgent outside medical visits. Use telehealth to the extent possible as a social distancing measure within the facility and to help minimize movement between the facility and the community.
  • If a transfer is absolutely necessary, perform verbal screening and a temperature check as outlined in the Screening section below, before the individual leaves the facility. If an individual does not clear the screening process, delay the transfer and follow the protocol for suspected COVID-19 infection – including giving the individual a cloth face covering (unless contraindicated), if not already wearing one, immediately placing them under medical isolation, and evaluating them for SARS-CoV-2 testing.
  • Ensure that the receiving facility has capacity to properly quarantine or isolate the individual upon arrival.
  • See Transportation section below on precautions to use when transporting an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has postponed all non-urgent outside medical visits until further notice. If a transfer to an outside medical facility is necessary, the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guideline (pdf) is followed and each individual is screened and temperature checked prior to each transfer. Each Washington correctional facility has designated COVID-19 quarantine and isolation areas for individuals if needed.

Make every possible effort to modify staff assignments to minimize movement across housing units and other areas of the facility.

CDC Guidance

For example, ensure that the same staff are assigned to the same housing unit across shifts to prevent cross-contamination from units where infected individuals have been identified to units with no infections.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is working to minimize staff working in more than one housing unit. Due to the outbreaks in one or more facilities and the need to fill staffing models, this practice has not been able to be implemented throughout all facilities. As we move forward through the pandemic response, the department is working to acquire staff for specific locations to support one housing assignment as able, which will eliminate the staffing movement between units and will minimize the potential for spreading the COVID-19 virus between positive and non-positive units.

Consider suspending work release and other programs that involve movement of incarcerated/detained individuals in and out of the facility, especially if the work release assignment is in another congregate setting, such as a food processing plant.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is limiting the number of incarcerated individuals that may partake in these programs to ensure there is appropriate social distancing capacity of the facility. As space allows, individuals will be allowed to transfer to work release facilities, but will be required to follow the enhanced screening protocols and any medical protocols in place based on the individual’s medical status.

Implement lawful alternatives to in-person court appearances where permissible.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections works with each court as they are requesting court appearances during this time. If the facility can accommodate a virtual court appearance, the facility will do so. If the facility does not have the capability, they will work with the court to adhere to the precautionary measures put into place by the court to do an in person appearance. If it is an immediate need, the department and the courts are working collaboratively to find the solution that works with each individual court.

Where relevant, consider suspending co-pays for incarcerated/detained persons seeking medical evaluation for possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections suspended all copays related to COVID-19 testing.

Supporting Documentation:

Limit the number of operational entrances and exits to the facility.

Corrections' Actions

All Corrections facilities were tasked to implement enhanced screening stations at the one entrance to their facility. To fully adhere to this direction, facilities were required to limit the number of operational entrances and exits and have procedures in place to ensure everyone coming into their facility enters through the enhanced screening station.

Supporting Documentation:

Where feasible, consider establishing an on-site laundry option for staff so that they can change out of their uniforms, launder them at the facility, and wear street clothes and shoes home.

CDC Guidance

If on-site laundry for staff is not feasible, encourage them to change clothes before they leave the work site, and provide a location for them to do so. This practice may help minimize the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 between the facility and the community.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices

Even if COVID-19 has not yet been identified inside the facility or in the surrounding community, implement intensified cleaning and disinfecting procedures according to the recommendations below. These measures can help prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2 if introduced, and if already present through asymptomatic infections.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented enhanced cleaning guidelines at every corrections facility and work release location. Additionally, each facility has hired additional porters who are required to consistently clean all high-touch surfaces, such as door knobs and light switches, etc.

Supporting Documentation:

Adhere to CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfection during the COVID-19 response.

CDC Guidance

Monitor these recommendations for updates.

  • Visit the CDC website for a tool to help implement cleaning and disinfection.
  • Several times per day, clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, especially in common areas. Such surfaces may include objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, sink handles, countertops, toilets, toilet handles, recreation equipment, kiosks, telephones, and computer equipment).
  • Staff should clean shared equipment (e.g., radios, service weapons, keys, handcuffs) several times per day and when the use of the equipment has concluded.
  • Use household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 as appropriate for the surface.
    • Follow label instructions for safe and effective use of the product, including precautions that should be taken when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure there is good ventilation during use, and around people.
    • Clean according to label instructions, including for pre-cleaning steps, product dilution, contact time, and potable water rinse directions, if applicable, in order to ensure the product is effective and does not present an undue risk to users and others. The contact time is the amount of time the surface needs be treated for the product to work. Many product labels recommend keeping the surface wet for a specific amount of time.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented enhanced cleaning guidelines at every corrections facility and work release location. Additionally, each facility has hired additional porters who are required to continuously clean all high-touch surfaces, such as door knobs and light switches, etc.

Supporting Documentation:

Consider increasing the number of staff and/or incarcerated/detained persons trained and responsible for cleaning common areas to ensure continual cleaning of these areas throughout the day.

Corrections' Actions

Each corrections facility has hired additional porters to continuously clean the facility’s high-touch surfaces and common areas. This has also allowed the department to offer additional jobs to those incarcerated individuals who due to COVID-19 have not been able to continue their current employment.

Ensure adequate supplies to support intensified cleaning and disinfection practices and have a plan in place to restock rapidly if needed.

Corrections' Actions

Each correctional facility has a localized inventory supply system. Due to COVID-19 the cleaning supplies inventory needs have become higher and are being monitored closely. Each facility is required to report their stock of cleaning and PPE supplies to Headquarters once a week to give the agency the ability to analyze any trends and ensure that the agency is prepared for any shortages that may come upon the agency.

Hygiene

Encourage all staff and incarcerated/detained persons to wear a cloth face covering as much as safely possible, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through respiratory droplets that are created when a person talks, coughs, or sneezes (“source control”).

CDC Guidance
  • Provide cloth face coverings at no cost to incarcerated/detained individuals and launder them routinely.
  • Clearly explain the purpose of cloth face coverings and when their use may be contraindicated. Because many individuals with COVID-19 do not have symptoms, it is important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in order to protect each other: “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.”
  • Ensure staff know that cloth face coverings should not be used as a substitute for surgical masks or N95 respirators that may be required based on an individual’s scope of duties. Cloth face coverings are not PPE, but are worn to protect others in the surrounding area from respiratory droplets generated by the wearer.
  • Surgical masks may also be used as source control but should be conserved for situations requiring PPE.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections requires all persons in a Washington correctional facility or work site to wear a face covering. The department has reminded all individuals of the importance of face coverings to enhance the ability to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when interacting with potential asymptomatic individuals. All staff in the correctional facilities have been sent the PPE matrix which explains which circumstances require certain levels of PPE, for example surgical mask vs. face covering, vs. N95 respirator.

Supporting Documentation:

Reinforce healthy hygiene practices, and provide and continually restock hygiene supplies throughout the facility, including in bathrooms, food preparation and dining areas, intake areas, visitor entries and exits, visitation rooms and waiting rooms, common areas, medical, and staff-restricted areas (e.g., break rooms).

Corrections' Actions

Each facility has a procedure locally that ensures that each facility has sufficient cleaning supplies available to their facility. These supplies have been ordered in abundance due to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Additionally, Headquarters has implemented a process for ordering additional PPE as needed through the WA State Emergency Operations Center and that memo was distributed to all facilities.

Supporting Documentation:

Provide incarcerated/detained persons and staff no-cost access to soap, running water and hand drying machines or disposable paper towels, tissues, and cloth face coverings.

CDC Guidance
  • Soap – Provide liquid or foam soap where possible. If bar soap must be used, ensure that it does not irritate the skin, as this would discourage frequent hand washing, and ensure that individuals are not sharing bars of soap.
  • Running water, and hand drying machines or disposable paper towels for hand washing
  • Tissues and (where possible) no-touch trash receptacles for disposal
  • Cloth face coverings
Corrections' Actions

Corrections began distributing soap at no charge to the incarcerated population in April of 2020. As the CDC has reassured that anti-bacterial soap is not necessary to combat the virus as it is not a bacterial infection, the department has begun to provide aloe soap to alleviate any skin irritations that may occur from frequent hand washing. Corrections also did an audit of all sink work orders on April 3, 2020, and Superintendents were directed to prioritize functioning sinks with hot water. The department only utilizes no touch trash receptacles, and additionally has placed toilet paper throughout facilities for use when sneezing, and all incarcerated individuals have access to toilet paper or tissues in their housing units.

Supporting Documentation:

Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol where permissible based on security restrictions.

CDC Guidance

Consider allowing staff to carry individual-sized bottles to maintain hand hygiene.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has allowed 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer to be available in areas that can be monitored by staff. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance/exit of the facility, at donning/doffing stations, and in areas where a handwashing station is not nearby.

Communicate that sharing drugs and drug preparation equipment can spread SARS-CoV-2 due to potential contamination of shared items and close contact between individuals.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections discourages the use of all drug paraphernalia in any capacity. We continue to share with the incarcerated population the dangers of sharing drug paraphernalia and will continue to follow disciplinary processes as usual in the event any is discovered.

Testing for SARS-CoV-2

Correctional and detention facilities are high-density congregate settings that present unique challenges to implementing testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Refer to Testing guidance for details regarding testing strategies in correctional settings.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Prevention Practices for Incarcerated/Detained Persons

Provide cloth face coverings (unless contraindicated) and perform pre-intake symptom screening and temperature checks for all new entrants in order to identify and immediately place individuals with symptoms under medical isolation. Screening should take place in an outdoor space prior to entry, in the sally port, or at the point of entry into the facility immediately upon entry, before beginning the intake process.

CDC Guidance

See Screening section below for the wording of screening questions and a recommended procedure to safely perform a temperature check. Staff performing temperature checks should wear recommended PPE (see PPE section below).

  • If an individual has symptoms of COVID-19:
    • Require the individual to wear a cloth face covering (as much as possible, use cloth face coverings in order to reserve surgical masks for situations requiring PPE). Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance should not wear a cloth face covering.
    • Ensure that staff who have direct contact with the symptomatic individual wear recommended PPE.
    • Place the individual under medical isolation and refer to healthcare staff for further evaluation. (See Infection Control and Clinical Care sections below.)
    • Facilities without onsite healthcare staff should contact their state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health department to coordinate effective medical isolation and necessary medical care. See Transport section and coordinate with the receiving facility.
  • If an individual is an asymptomatic close contact of someone with COVID-19:
    • Quarantine the individual and monitor for symptoms at least once per day (ideally twice per day) for 14 days. (See Quarantine section below.)
    • Facilities without onsite healthcare staff should contact their state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health department to coordinate effective quarantine and necessary medical care.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections provides all persons in the correctional facilities with face coverings. If an individual is placed on quarantine or medical isolation status they will be given proper PPE, and if individuals are working in those areas they will be given proper PPE, per the PPE Matrix. Additionally, all individuals entering all correctional facilities and worksites are required to be screened and temperature checked before being allowed entrance into the facility.

The Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guideline provides information on Corrections' response to individuals identified to be symptomatic, as well as the quarantining of individuals identified as close contacts of someone with COVID-19.

Supporting Documentation:

Implement social distancing strategies to increase the physical space between incarcerated/detained persons (ideally 6 feet between all individuals, regardless of symptoms), and to minimize mixing of individuals from different housing units.

CDC Guidance

Strategies will need to be tailored to the individual space in the facility and the needs of the population and staff. Not all strategies will be feasible in all facilities. Example strategies with varying levels of intensity include:

  1. Common areas:
    • Enforce increased space between individuals in holding cells as well as in lines and waiting areas such as intake (e.g., remove every other chair in a waiting area)
  2. Recreation:
    • Choose recreation spaces where individuals can spread out
    • Stagger time in recreation spaces
    • Restrict recreation space usage to a single housing unit per space (where feasible)
  3. Meals:
    • Stagger meals in the dining hall (one housing unit at a time)
    • Rearrange seating in the dining hall so that there is more space between individuals (e.g., remove every other chair and use only one side of the table)
    • Provide meals inside housing units or cells
  4. Group activities:
    • Limit the size of group activities
    • Increase space between individuals during group activities
    • Suspend group programs where participants are likely to be in closer contact than they are in their housing environment
    • Consider alternatives to existing group activities, in outdoor areas or other areas where individuals can spread out
  5. Housing:
    • If space allows, reassign bunks to provide more space between individuals, ideally 6 feet or more in all directions. (Ensure that bunks are cleaned thoroughly if assigned to a new occupant.)
    • Arrange bunks so that individuals sleep head to foot to increase the distance between their faces
    • Minimize the number of individuals housed in the same room as much as possible
    • Rearrange scheduled movements to minimize mixing of individuals from different housing areas
  6. Work details:
    • Modify work detail assignments so that each detail includes only individuals from a single housing unit.
  7. Medical:
    • If possible, designate a room near each housing unit to evaluate individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, rather than having them walk through the facility to be evaluated in the medical unit. If this is not feasible, consider staggering individuals’ sick call visits.
    • Stagger pill line, or stage pill line within individual housing units.
    • Identify opportunities to implement telemedicine to minimize the movement of healthcare staff across multiple housing units and to minimize the movement of ill individuals through the facility.
    • Designate a room near the intake area to evaluate new entrants who are flagged by the intake symptom screening process before they move to other parts of the facility.

Note that if group activities are discontinued, it will be important to identify alternative forms of activity to support the mental health of incarcerated/detained persons.

Corrections' Actions
  1. Common areas:
    • Reduced the intake of the violator population to every other week.
    • Reduced the number of individuals sleeping on the ground and overcrowding at intake to zero for a substantial period of time.
  2. Recreation:
    • Chose recreation spaces where individuals can spread out.
    • Staggered time in recreation spaces.
    • Restricted recreation space usage to a single housing unit per space (where feasible).
  3. Meals:
    • Staggered meals in the dining hall (one housing unit at a time).
    • Rearranged seating in the dining hall so that there is more space between individuals (e.g., remove every other chair and use only one side of the table).
    • Providing meals inside housing units or cells.
  4. Group activities:
    • Limit the size of group activities.
    • Increased space between individuals during group activities.
    • Suspended group programs where participants were likely to be in closer contact than they are in their housing environment.
    • Considered alternatives to existing group activities, in outdoor areas or other areas where individuals can spread out.
  5. Housing:
    • Implemented additional and alternative housing locations in all stand-alone and co-located minimum custody facilities to encourage greater social distancing and to lessen the numbers for individualized cohorts. Examples of locations that were turned into alternate housing locations: extended family visit trailers, chapel areas, library areas, gym areas, etc.
  6. Work details:
    • Limited the size of group activities.
    • Increased space between individuals during group activities.
    • Suspended group programs where participants are likely to be in closer contact than they are in their housing environment.
    • Considered alternatives to existing group activities, in outdoor areas or other areas where individuals can spread out.
  7. Medical:
    • Designated a room near each housing unit to evaluate individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, rather than having them walk through the facility to be evaluated in the medical unit. When this is not feasible, staggering individuals’ sick call visits.
    • Staggered and staged pill lines within individual housing units.
    • Designated a room near the intake area to evaluate new entrants who are flagged by the intake symptom screening process before they move to other parts of the facility.

Supporting Documentation:

Provide up-to-date information about COVID-19 to incarcerated/detained persons on a regular basis.

CDC Guidance

As much as possible, provide this information in person and allow opportunities for incarcerated/detained individuals to ask questions (e.g., town hall format if social distancing is feasible, or informal peer-to-peer education). Updates should address:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 and its health risks
  • Reminders to report COVID-19 symptoms to staff at the first sign of illness
    • Address concerns related to reporting symptoms (e.g., being sent to medical isolation), explain the need to report symptoms immediately to protect everyone, and explain the differences between medical isolation and solitary confinement.
  • Reminders to use cloth face coverings as much as possible
  • Changes to the daily routine and how they can contribute to risk reduction
Corrections' Actions

Corrections staff are continuously communicating with the incarcearted population about updates to the COVID-19 pandemic and the department’s response. The department will continue to add information through memos and posting posters/signage throughout the facility as the pandemic progresses. The department is continuing to encourage incarcerated individuals to self report symptoms and additionally staff are directed to report any individuals they suspect are symptomatic.

Supporting Documentation:

Prevention Practices for Staff

Remind staff to stay at home if they are sick.

CDC Guidance

Ensure staff are aware that they will not be able to enter the facility if they have symptoms of COVID-19, and that they will be expected to leave the facility as soon as possible if they develop symptoms while on duty.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has encouraged all staff to stay home if they begin to feel sick or present symptoms of COVID-19. Corrections implemented an emergency paid leave for individuals who are unable to enter their work facility due to the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, Corrections has created an enhanced screening process at the entrance of all correctional facilities and workplaces. Staff have been informed they will not be allowed to enter the facility if they do not pass the screening. At-home work assignments can be assigned to individuals who are screened out of the facility or workplace and for individuals at higher risk for COVID-19.

Supporting Documentation:

See strategies for testing of asymptomatic incarcerated or detained individuals and staff without known SARS-CoV-2 exposure for early identification of SARS-CoV-2 in correctional and detention facilities.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Perform verbal screening and temperature checks for all staff daily on entry.

CDC Guidance

See Screening section below for wording of screening questions and a recommended procedure to safely perform temperature checks.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented an enhanced screening process for all correctional facilities and work sites. Those individuals who do not pass the screening will be sent home to follow the process for return to work.

Supporting Documentation:

Provide staff with up-to-date information about COVID-19 and about facility policies on a regular basis

CDC Guidance

Including:

Corrections' Actions

The Corrections DOC COVID-19 webpage has a direct-link to the Department of Health webpage which provides the state COVID-19 response information and updated information pertaining to symptoms and new applicable research relevant to the COIVD-19 virus. Corrections leadership has communicated with staff about the sick leave policies in place and additional leave that was implemented to help alleviate distresses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Documentation:

If staff develop a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 while at work

CDC Guidance

They should immediately put on a cloth face covering (if not already wearing one), inform supervisor, leave the facility, and follow CDC-recommended steps for persons who are ill with COVID-19 symptoms.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Supporting Documentation:

If a staff member has a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, the relevant employers should inform other staff about their possible exposure in the workplace but should maintain the infected employee’s confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Follow guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when offering testing to staff.

CDC Guidance

Any time a positive test result is identified, ensure that the individual is rapidly notified, connected to appropriate medical care, and advised how to self-isolate.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Staff identified as close contacts of someone with COVID-19 should self-quarantine at home for 14 days, unless a shortage of critical staff precludes quarantine.

CDC Guidance
  • Staff identified as close contacts should self-monitor for symptoms and consider seeking testing.
  • Refer to CDC guidelines for further recommendations regarding home quarantine.
  • To ensure continuity of operations, critical infrastructure workers (including corrections officers, law enforcement officers, and healthcare staff) may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 , provided that they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.
    • Screening: The facility should ensure that temperature and symptom screening takes place daily before the staff member enters the facility.
    • Regular Monitoring: The staff member should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program. If symptoms develop, they should follow CDC guidance on isolation with COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Wear a Cloth Face Covering: The staff member should wear a cloth face covering (unless contraindicated) at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after the last exposure (if not already wearing one due to universal use of cloth face coverings).
    • Social Distance: The staff member should maintain 6 feet between themselves and others and practice social distancing as work duties permit.
    • Disinfect and Clean Workspaces: The facility should continue enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices in all areas including offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared equipment.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections requires that all persons in correctional facilities or worksites go through an enhanced screening process, monitor their symptoms and report if they become symptomatic, wear face coverings at all times, practice good hygiene, practice social distancing as able, and clean and disinfect high-use surfaces as able.

Supporting Documentation:

Staff with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should inform workplace and personal contacts immediately. These staff should be required to meet CDC criteria for ending home isolation before returning to work.

CDC Guidance

Monitor CDC guidance on discontinuing home isolation regularly, as circumstances evolve rapidly.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Supporting Documentation:

When feasible and consistent with security priorities, encourage staff to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from an individual with COVID-19 symptoms while interviewing, escorting, or interacting in other ways, and to wear recommended PPE if closer contact is necessary.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections encourages all staff to practice precautionary measure and follow recommended practices put forth by the CDC to ensure their health during the COVID-19 pandemic. All persons in correctional facilities or work sites are required to wear a face covering at all times. Corrections provides any person with additional personal protective equipment (PPE) if they are in an environment that requires it per the PPE Matrix.

Supporting Documentation:

Ask staff to keep interactions with individuals with COVID-19 symptoms as brief as possible.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections encourages all staff to practice precautionary measure and follow recommended practices put forth by the CDC to ensure their health during the COVID-19 pandemic. All staff have received information about proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when interacting with individuals who may be symptomatic, have been in close contact, or are positive for COVID-19.

Prevention Practices for Visitors

If possible, communicate with potential visitors to discourage contact visits in the interest of their own health and the health of their family members and friends inside the facility.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has closed all visiting facilities at this time. This has been communicated with the population and the external stakeholders, to include loved ones of the incarcerated.

Require visitors to wear cloth face coverings (unless contraindicated), and perform verbal screening and temperature checks for all visitors and volunteers on entry.

CDC Guidance

See Screening section below for wording of screening questions and a recommended procedure to safely perform temperature checks.

  • Staff performing temperature checks should wear recommended PPE.
  • Exclude visitors and volunteers who do not clear the screening process or who decline screening.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has closed all visiting facilities at this time. This has been communicated with the population and the external stakeholders, to include loved ones of the incarcerated.

Supporting Documentation:

Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in visitor entrances, exits, and waiting areas.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has provided 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer at entrances/exits of the facilities and areas deemed appropriate by the superintendent and the assistant secretary for prisons.

Provide visitors and volunteers with information to prepare them for screening.

CDC Guidance
  • Instruct visitors to postpone their visit if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If possible, inform potential visitors and volunteers before they travel to the facility that they should expect to be screened for COVID-19 (including a temperature check), and will be unable to enter the facility if they do not clear the screening process or if they decline screening.
  • Display signage outside visiting areas explaining the COVID-19 symptom screening and temperature check process. Ensure that materials are understandable for non-English speakers and those with low literacy.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has closed all visiting facilities at this time. This has been communicated with the population and the external stakeholders, to include loved ones of the incarcerated.

Promote non-contact visits:

CDC Guidance
  • Encourage incarcerated/detained persons to limit in-person visits in the interest of their own health and the health of their visitors.
  • Consider reducing or temporarily eliminating the cost of phone calls for incarcerated/detained persons.
  • Consider increasing incarcerated/detained persons’ telephone privileges to promote mental health and reduce exposure from direct contact with community visitors.
Corrections' Actions

Until further notice, Corrections has suspended in-person visitation. Corrections understands the importance of maintaining ties with family, friends, and the community, and is working to continue providing additional reduced and no-cost communication resources. A work group has been established to develop an implementation plan for non-contact visits in the facilities.

Supporting Documentation:

Consider suspending or modifying visitation programs, if legally permissible. For example, provide access to virtual visitation options where available.

CDC Guidance
  • If moving to virtual visitation, clean electronic surfaces regularly after each use. (See Cleaning guidance below for instructions on cleaning electronic surfaces.)
  • Inform potential visitors of changes to, or suspension of, visitation programs.
  • Clearly communicate any visitation program changes to incarcerated/detained persons, along with the reasons for them (including protecting their health and their family and community members’ health).
  • If suspending contact visits, provide alternate means (e.g., phone or video visitation) for incarcerated/detained individuals to engage with legal representatives, clergy, and other individuals with whom they have legal right to consult.

NOTE: Suspending visitation should only be done in the interest of incarcerated/detained persons’ physical health and the health of the general public. Visitation is important to maintain mental health. If visitation is suspended, facilities should explore alternative ways for incarcerated/detained persons to communicate with their families, friends, and other visitors in a way that is not financially burdensome for them.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has closed all visiting facilities at this time. This has been communicated with the population and the external stakeholders, to include loved ones of the incarcerated. In an effort to provide additional communication, Corrections has worked with JPay to provide additional free or reduced cost services to the population and loved ones. Additional porters have been hired to clean high-touch surfaces to include phones and JPay kiosks. Corrections is working to continue these services to encourage continued phone and virtual communication in lieu of in-person visitation.

Supporting Documentation:

Restrict non-essential vendors, volunteers, and tours from entering the facility.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has closed all visiting facilities at this time. This has been communicated with the population and the external stakeholders, to include loved ones of the incarcerated.

Management

This guidance is intended to help facilities clinically manage persons with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 inside the facility and prevent further transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Strategies include medical isolation and care of incarcerated/detained persons with COVID-19 (including considerations for cohorting), quarantine and testing of close contacts, restricting movement in and out of the facility, infection control practices for interactions with persons with COVID-19 and their quarantined close contacts or contaminated items, intensified social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting areas where infected persons spend time.

Operations

Coordinate with state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health departments.

CDC Guidance

When an individual has suspected or confirmed COVID-19, notify public health authorities and request any necessary assistance with medical isolation, evaluation, and clinical care, and contact tracing and quarantine of close contacts. See Medical Isolation, Quarantine and Clinical Care sections below.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections medical staff are in constant communication with state, local, tribal, and/or territorial departments to communicate positive COVID-19 cases in the Washington correctional facilities. Please see the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines for information about the procedures for clinical care guidelines for individuals on medical isolation or quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

Implement alternate work arrangements deemed feasible in the Operational Preparedness section.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections implemented this process early on in the COVID-19 response. This will continue being implemented as the pandemic response progresses.

Suspend all transfers of incarcerated/detained persons to and from other jurisdictions and facilities (including work release), unless necessary for medical evaluation, medical isolation/quarantine, health care, extenuating security concerns, release, or to prevent overcrowding.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has limited inter facility transfers and reduced the number of transfers nearly 75%. In the event a medical transfer is necessary, if possible the individual will be transferred separately with staff who are properly suited in PPE per the PPE Property Matrix. If the individual must be transferred with another COVID-19 positive individual from the same cohort, both or all individuals will be properly suited in PPE and socially distanced as possible. COVID-19 positive, medically isolated, or quarantined individuals are never transferred with those who are not from the same cohort, COVID-19 positive, medically isolated, or quarantine.

Supporting Documentation:

Set up PPE donning/doffing stations as described in the Preparation section.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented these stations at each facility where PPE is frequently required.

If possible, consider quarantining all new intakes for 14 days before they enter the facility’s general population (separately from other individuals who are quarantined due to contact with someone who has COVID-19). This practice is referred to as routine intake quarantine.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has created an intake separation process for all new intakes. Individuals that come into intake in Washington State correctional facilities, are not housed with any of the general population. There is a separate intake area at all intake locations.

Consider testing all newly incarcerated/detained persons before they join the rest of the population in the correctional or detention facility.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is testing all individuals who are newly incarcerated/detained and placing them in an intake separation area until testing results are received or the proper incubation periods have been satisfied per the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines.

Supporting Documentation:

Minimize interactions between incarcerated/detained persons living in different housing units, to prevent transmission from one unit to another. For example, stagger mealtimes and recreation times, and consider implementing broad movement restrictions.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections implemented a restricted movement for all DOC facilities in April of 2020, to restrict the interaction between housing units. Examples of changes to schedules have occurred for meal times, recreation times, programming schedules, medical appointments, pill lines, etc. Corrections has limited the number of individuals that can be in any common area at one time and has implemented protocols to ensure that these social distancing measures can be followed in as many areas as possible.

Ensure that work details include only incarcerated/detained persons from a single housing unit, supervised by staff who are normally assigned to the same housing unit.

CDC Guidance

If a work detail provides goods or services for other housing units (e.g., food service or laundry), ensure that deliveries are made with extreme caution. For example, have a staff member from the work detail deliver prepared food to a set location, leave, and have a staff member from the delivery location pick it up. Clean and disinfect all coolers, carts, and other objects involved in the delivery.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is implementing a cohort approach to limit the interactions between individuals in facilities. The first approach being implemented is co-horting individuals based on work assignments as infrastructure allows.

Incorporate COVID-19 prevention practices into release planning.

CDC Guidance
  • Consider implementing a release quarantine (ideally in single cells) for 14 days prior to individuals’ projected release date.
  • Consider testing individuals for SARS-CoV-2 before release, particularly if they will be released to a congregate setting or to a household with persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Screen all releasing individuals for COVID-19 symptoms and perform a temperature check (see Screening section below).
    • If an individual does not clear the screening process, follow the protocol for suspected COVID-19 – including giving the individual a cloth face covering, if not already wearing one, immediately placing them under medical isolation, and evaluating them for SARS-CoV-2 testing.
    • If the individual is released from the facility before the recommended medical isolation period is complete, discuss release of the individual with state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health departments to ensure safe medical transport and continued shelter and medical care, as part of release planning. Make direct linkages to community resources to ensure proper medical isolation and access to medical care.
    • Before releasing an incarcerated/detained individual who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19, or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19, contact local public health officials to ensure they are aware of the individual’s release and anticipated location. If the individual will be released to a community-based facility, such as a homeless shelter, contact the facility’s staff to ensure adequate time for them to prepare to continue medical isolation or quarantine as needed.
Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Incorporate COVID-19 prevention practices into re-entry programming.

CDC Guidance
  • Ensure that facility re-entry programs include information on accessing housing, social services, mental health services, and medical care within the context of social distancing restrictions and limited community business operations related to COVID-19.
    • Provide individual about to be released with COVID-19 prevention information, hand hygiene supplies, and cloth face coverings.
    • Link individuals who need medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder to substance use, harm reduction, and/or recovery support systems. If the surrounding community is under movement restrictions due to COVID-19, ensure that referrals direct releasing individuals to programs that are continuing operations.
    • Link releasing individuals to Medicaid enrollment and healthcare resources including continuity of care for chronic conditions that may place an individual at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • When possible, encourage releasing individuals to seek housing options among their family or friends in the community, to prevent crowding in other congregate settings such as homeless shelters. When linking individuals to shared housing, link preferentially to accommodations with the greatest capacity for social distancing.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has COVID-19 flyers available to all incarcerated individuals throughout the facility and in Community Corrections Offices. Additionally, the department has worked with other social service agencies to expedite benefits for individuals who partook in the Rapid Reentry program and individuals reentering to the community in the time of pandemic response.

Supporting Documentation:

Hygiene

Continue to ensure that hand hygiene supplies are well-stocked in all areas of the facility (see above).

Corrections' Actions

Corrections began offering complimentary bars of soap to incarcerated individuals in April of 2020. Since the first distribution of soap, the agency has continued to hand out bars of soap as requested by indiviudals and has ensured that all common spaces and bathroom areas are stocked with proper hand washing resources, to include soap and warm water.

Each facility has a procedure locally that ensures that each facility has sufficient cleaning supplies available to their facility. These supplies have been ordered in abundance due to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Additionally, Headquarters has implemented a process for ordering additional PPE as needed through the WA State Emergency Operations Center and that memo was distributed to all facilities.

Supporting Documentation:

Continue to emphasize practicing good hand hygiene and cough etiquette (see above).

Corrections' Actions

All COVID-19 posters/signage and good cough and hygiene etiquette posters are translated in English and in Spanish languages. Posters and signage are posted throughout all facilities and work locations. The ADA Compliance Manager sent an email to all ADA Coordinators requesting that they identify all individuals who require assistance to understanding English/Spanish posted documentation and to provide support to those individuals for deciphering all COVID related documentation.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices

Continue adhering to recommended cleaning and disinfection procedures for the facility at large (see above).

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines (pdf).

Reference specific cleaning and disinfection procedures for areas where individuals with COVID-19 spend time (see above).

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines (pdf).

Management of Incarcerated/Detained Persons with COVID-19 Symptoms

Staff interacting with incarcerated/detained individuals with COVID-19 symptoms should wear recommended PPE (see Table 1).

Corrections' Actions

Please see the PPE Matrix (pdf) which is followed by all individuals working in Washington State correctional facilities.

If possible, designate a room near each housing unit for healthcare staff to evaluate individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, rather than having symptomatic individuals walk through the facility to be evaluated in the medical unit.

Corrections' Actions

If the infrastructure allows, the department has designated a holding cell in each housing unit in which healthcare staff can evaluate individuals with COVID-19 symptoms. If a holding cell is not available, the individual will be asked to stay in the housing cell and protocols will be followed as written in the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf).

Incarcerated/detained individuals with COVID-19 symptoms should wear a cloth face covering (unless contraindicated) and should be placed under medical isolation immediately. See Medical Isolation section below.

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the following documents pertaining to the requirement of all individuals to wear face coverings at all times in Washington State correctional facilities and for information about the medical guidelines around individuals placed on medical isolation status.

Supporting Documentation:

Medical staff should evaluate symptomatic individuals to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 testing is indicated.

Refer to CDC guidelines for information on evaluation and testing See Infection Control and Clinical Care sections below as well. Incarcerated/detained persons with symptoms are included in the high-priority group for testing in CDC’s recommendations due to the high risk of transmission within congregate settings.

CDC Guidance
  • If the individual’s SARS-CoV-2 test is positive, continue medical isolation. (See Medical Isolation section below.)
  • If the SARS-CoV-2 test is negative, the individual can be returned to their prior housing assignment unless they require further medical assessment or care or if they need to be quarantined as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for information pertaining to symptomatic individuals.

Work with public health or private labs, as available, to access testing supplies or services.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has partnered with the Department of Health and local COVID-19 testing labs for the mass testing effort that has been implemented at specifically identified correctional facilities. These conversations are ongoing and as the testing procedures progress, Corrections will update the DOC COVID-19 webpage.

Medical Isolation of Individuals with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19

As soon as an individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 they should be given a mask (if not already wearing one and if it can be worn safely), immediately placed under medical isolation in a separate environment from other individuals, and medically evaluated.

Corrections' Actions

Please refer to the following documents that pertain to the mandatory requirement of wearing face coverings in Washington correctional facilities and the medical guidelines pertaining to individuals on medical isolation status.

Supporting Documentation:

Ensure that medical isolation for COVID-19 is distinct from punitive solitary confinement of incarcerated/detained individuals, both in name and in practice.

CDC Guidance

Because of limited individual housing spaces within many correctional and detention facilities, infected individuals are often placed in the same housing spaces that are used for solitary confinement. To avoid being placed in these conditions, incarcerated/detained individuals may be hesitant to report COVID-19 symptoms, leading to continued transmission within shared housing spaces and, potentially, lack of health care and adverse health outcomes for infected individuals who delay reporting symptoms. Ensure that medical isolation is operationally distinct from solitary confinement, even if the same housing spaces are used for both. For example:

  • Ensure that individuals under medical isolation receive regular visits from medical staff and have access to mental health services.
  • Make efforts to provide similar access to radio, TV, reading materials, personal property, and commissary as would be available in individuals’ regular housing units.
  • Consider allowing increased telephone privileges without a cost barrier to maintain mental health and connection with others while isolated.
  • Communicate regularly with isolated individuals about the duration and purpose of their medical isolation period.
Corrections' Actions

For reference of medical rounds please see the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf). These protocols lay out the required rounds made by medical staff for individuals on medical isolation status.

The department has purchased additional televisions for all facilities to ensure that all individuals who are placed on restricted movement or medical isolation status have the ability to utilize a television. Additionally, the department has provided individuals in cell activites such as cards, in cell workout programs, books, puzzles, their personal property, and board games.

Facilities have distributed communication to remind the incarcerated population how important it is to complete the medical protocols and adhere to the medical isolation/quarantine requirements. Facilities will continue to encourage incarcerated to self-report and will continue to provide support to those individuals who are placed on medical isolation status and/or quarantine status.

Additionally, Corrections has worked with JPay to provide additional free or reduced cost services to the population and loved ones. Corrections is working to continue these services to encourage continued phone and virtual communication in lieu of in-person visitation.

Supporting Documentation:

Keep the individual’s movement outside the medical isolation space to an absolute minimum.

CDC Guidance
  • Provide medical care to isolated individuals inside the medical isolation space, unless they need to be transferred to a healthcare facility. See Infection Control and Clinical Care sections for additional details.
  • Serve meals inside the medical isolation space.
  • Exclude the individual from all group activities.
  • Assign the isolated individual(s) a dedicated bathroom when possible. When a dedicated bathroom is not feasible, do not reduce access to restrooms or showers as a result. Clean and disinfect areas used by infected individuals frequently on an ongoing basis during medical isolation.
Corrections' Actions

Please see the medical guidelines pertaining to the treatment of individuals on medical isolation status and the memo requiring the use of face coverings for all individuals in the Washington correctional facilities.

Supporting Documentation:

Ensure that the individual is wearing a cloth face covering if they must leave the medical isolation space for any reason, and whenever another individual enters.

CDC Guidance

Provide clean masks as needed. Masks should be washed routinely and changed when visibly soiled or wet.

Corrections' Actions

Please see the medical guidelines pertaining to the treatment of individuals on medical isolation status and the memo requiring the use of face coverings for all individuals in the Washington correctional facilities.

Supporting Documentation:

If the facility is housing individuals with confirmed COVID-19 as a cohort:

CDC Guidance
  • Only individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 should be placed under medical isolation as a cohort. Do not cohort those with confirmed COVID-19 with those with suspected COVID-19, or with close contacts of individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
  • Do not house individuals with undiagnosed respiratory infection (who do not meet the criteria of suspected COVID-19) with individuals with suspected COVID-19.
  • Ensure that cohorted groups of people with confirmed COVID-19 wear cloth face coverings whenever anyone (including staff) enters the isolation space. (Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance should not wear a cloth face covering.)
  • Use one large space for cohorted medical isolation rather than several smaller spaces. This practice will conserve PPE and reduce the chance of cross-contamination across different parts of the facility.
Corrections' Actions

Individuals that are placed on medical isolation due to becoming symptomatic or receiving a positive COVID-19 test result are all treated as an individual on medical isolation status with no interaction with the general incarcerated population and limited interaction with medical stuff. For the mass testing efforts, individuals who received back positive tests are able to be housed in the same housing unit as other individuals who have tested positive. These individuals will be placed on medical isolation status and will follow the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) to minimize any interaction with others. Individuals who receive inconclusive test results, will be place in a housing unit with others who have received inconclusive test results and will be placed on medical isolation status until they receive either two negative test results or a positive test. Individuals will be required to receive two negative tests after an inconclusive to be considered negative. For indviduals who test negative, additional negative test results may be required if the medical leadership requires it. Negative test results will be housed with other negative test results.

Supporting Documentation:

If the facility is housing individuals with confirmed COVID-19 as a cohort, use a well-ventilated room with solid walls and a solid door that closes fully.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Minimize transfer of individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 between spaces within the facility.

Corrections' Actions

The Department of Corrections has limited inter-facility transfers and reduced the number of transfers nearly 75%. In the event a medical transfer is necessary, if possible the individual will be transferred separately with staff who are properly suited in PPE per the WA State DOC COVID-19 PPE Matrix (pdf). If the individual must be transferred with another COVID-19 positive individual from the same cohort, both or all individuals will be properly suited in PPE and socially distanced as possible. COVID-19 positive, medically isolated, or quarantined individuals are never transferred with those who are not from the same cohort, COVID-19 positive, medically isolated, or quarantine.

Supporting Documentation:

Provide individuals under medical isolation with tissues and, if permissible, a lined no-touch trash receptacle.

CDC Guidance

Instruct them to:

  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze
  • Dispose of used tissues immediately in the lined trash receptacle
  • Wash hands immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (where security concerns permit). Ensure that hand washing supplies are continually restocked.
Corrections' Actions

This is the direction given to all of the incarcerated individuals in the Washington State correctional facilities. All trash receptacles in the facilities are no touch trach receptacles. The department also provides toilet tissues to the entire population, to include in common areas, and incarcerated individuals are allowed to have toilet tissue in their housing cell for personal use. Proper hygiene flyers encouraging frequent hand washing are posted in all living units and common areas.

Maintain medical isolation at least until CDC criteria for discontinuing home-based isolation have been met. These criteria have changed since CDC corrections guidance was originally issued and may continue to change as new data become available. Monitor the sites linked below regularly for updates.

CDC Guidance

This content will not be outlined explicitly in this document due to rapid pace of change.

  • CDC’s recommended strategy for release from isolation can be found here.
  • Detailed information about the data informing the symptom-based strategy, and considerations for extended isolation periods for persons in congregate settings including corrections, can be found here.
  • If persons will require ongoing care by medical providers, discontinuation of transmission-based precautions (PPE) should be based on similar criteria found here.
Corrections' Actions

Please refer to the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for specific medical guidelines pertaining to individuals placed on medical isolation.

Supporting Documentation:

Cleaning Spaces where Individuals with COVID-19 Spend Time

Ensure that staff and incarcerated/detained persons performing cleaning wear recommended PPE.

Thoroughly and frequently clean and disinfect all areas where individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 spend time.

CDC Guidance
  • After an individual has been medically isolated for COVID-19 close off areas that they have used prior to isolation. If possible, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. Wait as long as practical, up to 24 hours under the poorest air exchange conditions (consult CDC Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities for wait time based on different ventilation conditions) before beginning to clean and disinfect, to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., cells, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the infected individual, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces (see list above in Prevention section).
  • Clean and disinfect areas used by infected individuals frequently on an ongoing basis during medical isolation.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections limits the movement of individuals who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus per the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf). Additionally, Corrections has implemented protocols to allow for areas where the confirmed or suspected COVID-19 individuals spent time to be closed off and deep cleaned before those areas are occupied again.

Supporting Documentation:

Hard (non-porous) surface cleaning and disinfection

CDC Guidance
  • If surfaces are soiled, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Consult the list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation, and check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
      • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
      • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Soft (porous) surface cleaning and disinfection

CDC Guidance
  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floors and rugs, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Electronics cleaning and disinfection

CDC Guidance
  • For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls, remove visible contamination if present.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
    • Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
    • If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Additional information on cleaning and disinfection of communal facilities such can be found on CDC’s website.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Food service items

CDC Guidance

Individuals under medical isolation should throw disposable food service items in the trash in their medical isolation room. Non-disposable food service items should be handled with gloves and washed following food safety requirements. Individuals handling used food service items should clean their hands immediately after removing gloves.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections does provide no-touch trash receptacles that are utilized for the disposal of items used by individuals on medical isolation status. Staff who assist with the disposal of items are required to wear PPE per the WA State DOC COVID-19 PPE Matrix (pdf). All individuals who handle food service items are utilizing disposable gloves and are encouraged to frequently follow recommended hygiene practices.

Supporting Documentation:

Laundry from individuals with COVID-19 can be washed with other’s laundry.

CDC Guidance
  • Individuals handling laundry from those with COVID-19 should wear disposable gloves and gown, discard after each use, and clean their hands immediately after.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Ensure that individuals performing cleaning wear recommended PPE (see PPE section below).
  • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If permissible, consider using a bag liner that is either disposable or can be laundered.
Corrections' Actions

Individuals who are assigned to working in laundry facilities have been trained to properly handle laundry from medical isolation and quarantine units. Individuals are to wear appropriate PPE and are advised not to shake the laundry to prevent spreading of the COVID-19 virus.

Supporting Documentation:

Transporting Individuals with Confirmed and Suspected COVID-19 and Quarantined Close Contacts

Refer to CDC guidance for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on safely transporting individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

CDC Guidance

This guidance includes considerations for vehicle type, air circulation, communication with the receiving facility, and cleaning the vehicle after transport.

  • If the transport vehicle is not equipped with the features described in the EMS guidance, at minimum drive with the windows down and ensure that the fan is set to high, in non-recirculating mode. If the vehicle has a ceiling hatch, keep it open.
Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Use the same precautions when transporting individuals under quarantine as close contacts of someone with COVID-19.

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for the procedures in place when transferring individuals on medical isolation or quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

See Table 1 for the recommended PPE for staff transporting someone with COVID-19.

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) and the WA State DOC COVID-19 PPE Matrix (pdf) for the protocols and procedures pertaining to PPE requirements for staff when interacting with individuals placed on medical isolation or quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

Quarantining Close Contacts of Individuals with COVID-19

To determine who is considered a close contact of an individual with COVID-19, see definition of close contact above and the Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Plan for more information.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented a contact mapping process system-wide. Please reference the Secondary screening vs. staff mapping (pdf) and COVID-19 Mapping Guidelines (pdf).

Supporting Documentation:

Contact tracing can be a useful tool to help contain disease outbreaks. When deciding whether to perform contact tracing, consider the following:

CDC Guidance
  • Have a plan in place for how close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 will be managed, including quarantine logistics.
  • Contact tracing can be especially impactful when:
    • There is a small number of infected individuals in the facility or in a particular housing unit. Aggressively tracing close contacts can help curb transmission before many other individuals are exposed.
    • The infected individual is a staff member or an incarcerated/detained individual who has had close contact with individuals from other housing units or with other staff. Identifying those close contacts can help prevent spread to other parts of the facility.
    • The infected individual is a staff member or an incarcerated/detained individual who has recently visited a community setting. In this situation, identifying close contacts can help reduce transmission from the facility into the community.
  • Contact tracing may be more feasible and effective in settings where incarcerated/detained individuals have limited contact with others (e.g., celled housing units), compared to settings where close contact is frequent and relatively uncontrolled (e.g., open dormitory housing units).
  • If there is a large number of individuals with COVID-19 in the facility, contact tracing may become difficult to manage. Under such conditions, consider broad-based testing in order to identify infections and prevent further transmission.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented a contact mapping process and specialized team at each facility to ensure that this process happens immediately and accurately. All facilities have limited housing movements and group activities to reduce the impact of a potential COVID-19 outbreak. Please see the below documents for reference on specific processes relating to contact mapping.

Supporting Documentation:

Incarcerated/detained persons who are close contacts of someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (whether the infected individual is another incarcerated/detained person, staff member, or visitor) should be placed under quarantine for 14 days (Refer to the Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Plan for more information):

CDC Guidance
  • If the close contact is tested for SARS-CoV-2 and tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, the individual should be medically isolated rather than quarantined.
  • If quarantined individual is tested during quarantine and they test negative, they should continue to quarantine for a full 14 days after last exposure and follow all recommendations of public health authorities.
  • If an individual is quarantined due to contact with someone with suspected COVID-19 who is subsequently tested and receives a negative result, they can be released from quarantine and retesting should be considered. See Interim Guidance on Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Correctional and Detention Facilities for more information about testing strategies in correctional and detention settings.
  • Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of whether the close contacts have symptoms.
    • Medically isolate those who test positive to prevent further transmission.
    • Asymptomatic close contacts testing negative should still quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure
  • Keep a quarantined individual’s movement outside the quarantine space to an absolute minimum.
    • Provide medical evaluation and care inside or near the quarantine space when possible.
    • Serve meals inside the quarantine space.
    • Exclude the quarantined individual from all group activities.
    • Assign the quarantined individual a dedicated bathroom when possible. When a dedicated bathroom is not feasible, do not reduce access to restrooms or showers as a result.
Corrections' Actions

Please see the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for informations pertaining to the medical guidelines of individuals placed on quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

Staff assignments to quarantine spaces should remain as consistent as possible, and these staff should limit their movements to other parts of the facility.

CDC Guidance
  • These staff should wear recommended PPE as appropriate for their level of contact with the individuals under quarantine (see PPE section below) and should limit their own movement between different parts of the facility.
    • If staff must serve multiple areas of the facility, ensure that they change PPE when leaving the quarantine space. If PPE supplies necessitate reuse, ensure that staff move only from areas of low to high exposure risk while wearing the same PPE, to prevent cross-contamination.
Corrections' Actions

Corrections is working to contract with additional staff to work in facilities to assist with the management of staff working in specific assigned housing units to prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. Corrections has been able to implement this protocol in housing units designated to high-risk populations and will continue to add these measures to additional units as able.

Facilities should make every possible effort to individually quarantine cases of confirmed COVID-19, and close contacts of individuals with confirmed, or suspected COVID-19.

CDC Guidance
  • Cohorting multiple quarantined close contacts could transmit SARS-CoV-2 from those who are infected to those who are uninfected. Cohorting should only be practiced if there are no other available options.
    • If cohorting of close contacts under quarantine is absolutely necessary, symptoms of all individuals should be monitored closely, and individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 should be placed under medical isolation immediately. If an individual is removed from the cohort due to COVID-19 symptoms and tests positive (or is not tested), the 14-day quarantine clock should restart for the remainder of the quarantined cohort.
    • If an entire housing unit is under quarantine due to contact with an individual from the same housing unit who has COVID-19, the entire housing unit may need to be treated as a cohort and quarantine in place.
    • Some facilities may choose to quarantine all new intakes for 14 days before moving them to the facility’s general population as a general rule (not because they were exposed to someone with COVID-19). Under this scenario, avoid mixing individuals quarantined due to exposure someone with COVID-19 with individuals undergoing routine intake quarantine.
    • Do not add more individuals to an existing quarantine cohort after the 14-day quarantine clock has started.
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for information pertaining to the medical guidelines for individuals placed on quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

If cohorting close contacts is absolutely necessary, be especially mindful of those who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

CDC Guidance
  • Ideally, they should not be cohorted with other quarantined individuals. If cohorting is unavoidable, make all possible accommodations to reduce exposure risk for the increased-risk individuals. (For example, intensify social distancing strategies for increased-risk individuals.)
Corrections' Actions

During the initial COVID-19 screening that is done by Health Services staff, it is determined whether an individual may be classified as a high-risk individual. Due to infrastructure limitations, individuals are quarantined in their original housing unit if possible. If it is not possible to house in the current housing unit, individuals will be moved to an identified quarantine housing area.

If single cells for isolation (of those with suspected COVID-19) and quarantine (of close contacts) are limited, prioritize them in rank order as follows to reduce the risk of further SARS-CoV-2 transmission and adverse health outcomes:

CDC Guidance
  • Individuals with suspected COVID-19 who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • Others with suspected COVID-19
  • Quarantined close contacts of someone with COVID-19 who are themselves at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • Other quarantined close contacts
Corrections' Actions

Corrections has been able to properly house individuals placed on medical isolation status per the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf). Corrections was able to pre-emptively implement Regional Care Facilities to assist in providing additional medical isolation areas if the need were to arise.

Supporting Documentation:

In order of preference, multiple quarantined individuals should be housed:

CDC Guidance
  • IDEAL: Separately, in single cells with solid walls (i.e., not bars) and solid doors that close fully
  • Separately, in single cells with solid walls but without solid doors
  • As a cohort, in a large, well-ventilated cell with solid walls, a solid door that closes fully, and at least 6 feet of personal space assigned to each individual in all directions
  • As a cohort, in a large, well-ventilated cell with solid walls and at least 6 feet of personal space assigned to each individual in all directions, but without a solid door
  • As a cohort, in single cells without solid walls or solid doors (i.e., cells enclosed entirely with bars), preferably with an empty cell between occupied cells creating at least 6 feet of space between individuals. (Although individuals are in single cells in this scenario, the airflow between cells essentially makes it a cohort arrangement in the context of COVID-19.)
  • As a cohort, in multi-person cells without solid walls or solid doors (i.e., cells enclosed entirely with bars), preferably with an empty cell between occupied cells. Employ social distancing strategies related to housing in the Prevention section to maintain at least 6 feet of space between individuals housed in the same cell.
  • As a cohort, in individuals’ regularly assigned housing unit but with no movement outside the unit (if an entire housing unit has been exposed). Employ social distancing strategies related to housing in the Prevention section above to maintain at least 6 feet of space between individuals.
  • Safely transfer to another facility with capacity to quarantine in one of the above arrangements. (See Transport section.)
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for medical guidelines pertaining to those individuals on quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

Meals should be provided to quarantined individuals in their quarantine spaces.

CDC Guidance

Individuals under quarantine should throw disposable food service items in the trash. Non-disposable food service items should be handled with gloves and washed with hot water or in a dishwasher. Individuals handling used food service items should clean their hands immediately after removing gloves.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections does provide no-touch trash receptacles that are utilized for the disposal of items used by individuals on medical isolation status. Staff who assist with the disposal of items are required to wear PPE per the PPE Matrix. All individuals who handle food service items are utilizing disposable gloves and are encouraged to frequently follow recommended hygiene practices.

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for medical guidelines pertaining to those individuals on quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

If quarantined individuals leave the quarantine space for any reason, they should wear cloth face coverings (unless contraindicated) as source control, if not already wearing them.

CDC Guidance
  • Quarantined individuals housed as a cohort should wear cloth face coverings at all times.
  • Quarantined individuals housed alone should wear cloth face coverings whenever another individual enters the quarantine space.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance should not wear a cloth face covering.
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the below documentation requiring face coverings for all individuals in all Washington correctional facilities and work sites.

Supporting Documentation:

Quarantined individuals should be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms at least once per day (ideally twice per day) including temperature checks.

CDC Guidance
  • If an individual develops symptoms or tests positive for SARS-CoV-2, they should be moved to medical isolation (individually, and separately from those with confirmed COVID-19 and others with suspected COVID-19) immediately and further evaluated. (See Medical Isolation section above.)
  • See Screening section for a procedure to perform temperature checks safely on asymptomatic close contacts of someone with COVID-19.
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for medical guidelines pertaining to those individuals on quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

If an individual who is part of a quarantined cohort becomes symptomatic:

CDC Guidance
  • If the individual is tested for SARS-CoV-2 and tests positive: the 14-day quarantine clock for the remainder of the cohort must be reset to 0.
  • If the individual is tested for SARS-CoV-2 and tests negative: the 14-day quarantine clock for this individual and the remainder of the cohort does not need to be reset. This individual can return from medical isolation to the quarantined cohort for the remainder of the quarantine period as their symptoms and diagnosis allow.
  • If the individual is not tested for SARS-CoV-2: the 14-day quarantine clock for the remainder of the cohort must be reset to 0.
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for medical guidelines pertaining to those individuals on quarantine status and/or medical isolation status.

Supporting Documentation:

Restrict quarantined individuals from leaving the facility (including transfers to other facilities) during the 14-day quarantine period, unless released from custody or a transfer is necessary for medical care, infection control, lack of quarantine space, or extenuating security concerns.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has limited inter-facility transfers and reduced the number of transfers nearly 75%. In the event a medical transfer is necessary, if possible the individual will be transferred separately with staff who are properly suited in PPE per the PPE Matrix (pdf). If the individual must be transferred with another COVID-19 positive individual from the same cohort, both or all individuals will be properly suited in PPE and socially distanced as possible. COVID-19 positive, medically isolated, or quarantined individuals are never transferred with those who are not from the same cohort, COVID-19 positive, medically isolated, or quarantine.

Supporting Documentation:

Quarantined individuals can be released from quarantine restrictions if they have not developed COVID-19 symptoms during the 14-day quarantine period.

CDC Guidance
  • Place any individuals testing positive under medical isolation, and if the individual testing positive was part of a quarantine cohort, restart the 14-day quarantine clock for the remainder of the cohort.
  • Consider re-testing individuals in quarantine cohort every 3-7 days to identify and isolate infected individuals and to minimize the amount of time infected individuals spend with the rest of the cohort.
Corrections' Actions

Please reference the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for medical guidelines pertaining to those individuals on quarantine status.

Supporting Documentation:

Laundry from quarantined individuals can be washed with other’s laundry.

CDC Guidance
  • Individuals handling laundry from quarantined persons should wear disposable gloves and gown, discard after each use, and clean their hands immediately after.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If permissible, consider using a bag liner that is either disposable or can be laundered.
Corrections' Actions

Individuals who are assigned to working in laundry facilities have been trained to properly handle laundry from medical isolation and quarantine units. Individuals are to wear appropriate PPE and are advised not to shake the laundry to prevent spreading of the COVID-19 virus.

Management Strategies for Incarcerated/Detained Persons without COVID-19 Symptoms

Provide clear information to incarcerated/detained persons about the presence of COVID-19 within the facility, and the need to increase social distancing and maintain hygiene precautions.

CDC Guidance
  • As much as possible, provide this information in person and allow opportunities for incarcerated/detained individuals to ask questions (e.g., town hall format if social distancing is feasible, or informal peer-to-peer education)
  • Ensure that information is provided in a manner that can be understood by non-English speaking individuals and those with low literacy, and make necessary accommodations for those with cognitive or intellectual disabilities and those who are deaf, blind, or have low-vision.
Corrections' Actions

All Washington State correctional facilities are holding weekly information calls with facility leadership and local family council members to provide facility COVID-19 response updates, answer and questions posed by family members, and alleviate any concerns brought forth. Each facility is posting the notes from the meetings in each housing unit for reference by the incarcerated population. Additionally, posters and informational signage and memos are posted throughout facilities in English and Spanish. In March, the ADA Compliance Manager sent an email to all ADA Coordinators requesting that they identify all individuals who require assistance to understanding English/Spanish posted documentation and to provide support to those individuals for deciphering all COVID-19 related documentation.

If individuals with COVID-19 have been identified among staff or incarcerated/detained persons anywhere in a facility, consider implementing regular symptom screening and temperature checks in housing units that have not yet identified infections, until no additional infections have been identified in the facility for 14 days.

CDC Guidance

Because some incarcerated/detained persons are hesitant to report symptoms, it is very important to monitor for symptoms closely even though doing so is resource intensive. See Screening section for a procedure to safely perform a temperature check.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections is considering this recommendation, however due to resource constraints this has not been implemented at this time. Staff and incarcerated individuals are reminded of the important to self-report symptomatic individuals and have implemented contact mapping processes to identify individuals who have had close contact with an individual who has been confirmed positive with COVID-19.

Consider additional options to intensify social distancing within the facility.

Corrections' Actions

The Department of Corrections has implemented additional and alternative housing locations in all stand-alone and co-located minimum custody facilities to encourage greater social distancing and to lessen the numbers for individualized cohorts. (Reference the Density Reduction Exercises). Examples of locations that were turned into alternate housing locations: extended family visit trailers, chapel areas, library areas, gym areas, etc. Additionally the department has reduced the intake of the violator population to every other week and was able to reduce the number of individuals sleeping on the round and overcrowding at intake to zero for a substantial period of time.

Management Strategies for Staff

Provide clear information to staff about the presence of COVID-19 within the facility, and the need to enforce use of universal cloth face coverings (unless contraindicated) and social distancing and to encourage hygiene precautions.

CDC Guidance

As much as possible, provide this information in person (if social distancing is feasible) and allow opportunities for staff to ask questions.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Staff identified as close contacts of someone with COVID-19 should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 and self-quarantine at home for 14 days, unless a shortage of critical staff precludes quarantine of those who are asymptomatic.

CDC Guidance

(see considerations for critical infrastructure workers). Refer to the Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Plan for more information about close contact tracing.

  • Close contacts should self-monitor for symptoms and consider seeking testing.
  • Refer to CDC guidelines for further recommendations regarding home quarantine.
Corrections' Actions

Staff who are identified as close contacts of someone positive with COVID-19 are required to leave the facility and follow the guidelines for safely returning to work. Corrections has provided emergency leave to all staff in the event it is needed to encourage staff to stay home until receiving a test result or completing the required incubation period.. Mass testing of staff has been implemented at specified facilities to prevent the potential spread in facilities that are experiencing an outbreak or have been identified as a facility in a high COVID-19 risk area.

Infection Control

All individuals who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to someone with COVID-19 or infectious materials (including body substances; contaminated medical supplies, devices, and equipment; contaminated environmental surfaces; or contaminated air) should follow infection control practices outlined in the CDC Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings. Monitor these guidelines regularly for updates.

CDC Guidance
  • Implement the above guidance as fully as possible within the correctional/detention context. Some of the specific language may not apply directly to healthcare settings within correctional facilities and detention centers, or to facilities without onsite healthcare capacity, and may need to be adapted to reflect facility operations and custody needs.
  • Note that these recommendations apply to staff as well as to incarcerated/detained individuals who may come in contact with contaminated materials during the course of their work placement in the facility (e.g., cleaning).
Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Staff should exercise caution and wear recommended PPE when in contact with individuals showing COVID-19 symptoms.

CDC Guidance

Contact should be minimized to the extent possible until the infected individual is wearing a cloth face covering (if not already wearing one and if not contraindicated) and staff are wearing PPE.

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the PPE Matrix (pdf) for information pertaining to PPE and individuals showing symptoms, placed on quarantine status, or placed on medical isolation status.

Supporting Documentation:

Refer to PPE section to determine recommended PPE for individuals in contact with individuals with COVID-19, their close contacts, and potentially contaminated items.

Corrections' Actions

Please reference the PPE Matrix (pdf) for information pertaining to PPE and individuals showing symptoms, placed on quarantine status, or placed on medical isolation status.

Supporting Documentation:

Remind staff about the importance of limiting unnecessary movements between housing units and through multiple areas of the facility, to prevent cross-contamination.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

Ensure that staff and incarcerated/detained persons are trained to doff PPE after they leave a space where PPE is required, as needed within the scope of their duties and work details. Ideally, staff should don clean PPE before entering a different space within the facility that also requires PPE.

CDC Guidance

If PPE shortages make it impossible for staff to change PPE when they move between different spaces within the facility, ensure that they are trained to move from areas of low exposure risk (“clean”) to areas of higher exposure risk (“dirty”) while wearing the same PPE, to minimize the risk of contamination across different parts of the facility.

Corrections' Actions

Corrections has implemented donning and doffing stations outside of all areas that require PPE to be worn to perform job duties. Staff working in facilities that perform jobs that require wearing PPE have been trained prior to the useage of PPE.

Clinical Care for Individuals with COVID-19

Facilities should ensure that incarcerated/detained individuals receive medical evaluation and treatment at the first signs of COVID-19 symptoms.

CDC Guidance
  • If a facility is not able to provide such evaluation and treatment, a plan should be in place to safely transfer the individual to another facility or local hospital (including notifying the facility/hospital in advance). See Transport section. The initial medical evaluation should determine whether a symptomatic individual is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Persons at increased risk may include older adults and persons of any age with serious underlying medical conditions, including chronic kidney disease, serious heart conditions, and Type-2 diabetes. See CDC’s website for a complete list and check regularly for updates as more data become available to inform this issue.
  • Based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk of COVID-19 as adults who are not pregnant. However, much remains unknown about the risks of COVID-19 to the pregnant person, the pregnancy, and the unborn child. Prenatal and postnatal care is important for all pregnant people, including those who are incarcerated/detained. Visit the CDC website for more information on pregnancy and breastfeeding in the context of COVID-19.
Corrections' Actions

Please refer to the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) for information pertaining to individuals who become symptomatic in the Washington correctional facilities. Individuals who become symptomatic are to be seen for a COVID-19 assessment as soon as possible and in an isolated area for privacy, if possible and safe to do so.

Supporting Documentation:

Staff evaluating and providing care for individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should follow the CDC Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and monitor the guidance website regularly for updates to these recommendations.

Corrections' Actions

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and medical leadership are consistently evaluating CDC guidelines for direction and compliance pertaining to the treatment of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Corrections has launched an outward-facing crossmap that correlates actionable items and supporting documents from corrections and CDC recommendations.

Healthcare staff should evaluate persons with COVID-19 symptoms and those who are close contacts of someone with COVID-19 in a separate room, with the door closed if possible, while wearing recommended PPE and ensuring that the individual being evaluated is wearing a cloth face covering.

CDC Guidance

If possible, designate a room near each housing unit to evaluate individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, rather than having symptomatic individuals walk through the facility to be evaluated in the medical unit.

Corrections' Actions

If an individual becomes symptomatic individuals are to be taken to a holding cell pending a COVID-19 assessment by health services staff. If it is not medically appropriate to move the individual, the individual will remain in their cell until health services staff can perform an evaluation. Please see the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf) and the PPE Matrix (pdf) for information pertaining to the required PPE when staff interact with symptomatic individuals, individuals on quarantine status, and individuals on medical isolation status.

Supporting Documentation:

Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness (e.g., influenza).

CDC Guidance

However, presence of another illness such as influenza does not rule out COVID-19.

Corrections' Actions

In development. Will be updated soon.

When evaluating and treating persons with symptoms of COVID-19 who do not speak English, use a language line or provide a trained interpreter when possible.

Corrections' Actions

This is a standard agency protocol.

Recommended PPE and PPE Training for Staff and Incarcerated/Detained Persons

Ensure that all staff (healthcare and non-healthcare) and incarcerated/detained persons who will have contact with infectious materials in their work placements have been trained to correctly don, doff, and dispose of PPE relevant to the level of contact they will have with individuals with confirmed and suspected COVID-19. Ensure strict adherence to OSHA PPE requirements.

CDC Guidance
  • Ensure that staff and incarcerated/detained persons who require respiratory protection (e.g., N95 respirator) for their work responsibilities have been medically cleared, trained, and fit-tested in the context of an employer’s respiratory protection program. If individuals wearing N95s have facial hair, it should not protrude under the respirator seal, or extend far enough to interfere with the device’s valve function (see OSHA regulations.
  • For PPE training materials and posters, visit the CDC website on Protecting Healthcare Personnel.
Corrections' Actions

All persons in a Washington State correctional facility that are required to wear respiratory protection will be given the required training and be medically cleared and fit tested prior to use.

Ensure that all staff are trained to perform hand hygiene after removing PPE.

Corrections' Actions

Posters/signage and appropriate hygiene products are available to all persons in the correctional facilities. Staff have been encouraged to continuously use properly hygiene protocols and the department has posters/signage available throughout the facility as constant reminders.

Ensure that PPE is readily available where and when needed, and that PPE donning/doffing/disposal stations have been set up as described in the Preparation section.

Corrections' Actions

PPE is appropriately available in all areas where it is required per the WA State DOC COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Infection Control Guidelines (pdf). Additionally, PPE is available in other areas as a precautionary measures in the event it could be required. There are donning/doffing stations available in all areas identified as areas of frequent PPE use.

Supporting Documentation: