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Metropolitan Detention Center

Metropolitan Detention Center Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions - June 24, 2020

Para ver estas preguntas frecuentes en español, haga clic aquí.
 

1. Q. How many inmates and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

A. Seven - Four inmates and three staff members.

  • a. March 29, 2020, one male inmate tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The inmate has recovered and is out of quarantine and remains incarcerated.
  • b. April 18, 2020, a female inmate was booked on a warrant. The inmate was tested for COVID-19 and placed in isolation in a negative pressure room/cell until released April 23, 2020 with written New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) instructions. MDC received the positive test results on April 24, 2020.
  • c. April 22, 2020, law enforcement brought a male inmate to MDC who was a confirmed coronavirus positive case upon arrival. The inmate was placed in isolation in a negative pressure room/cell. The court released the inmate on recognizance April 23, 2020. MDC, in consultation with New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), transported individual to a skilled nursing facility.
  • d. May 11, 2020, as a result of the facility-wide testing, conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health, MDC has been made aware of a staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19. The officer is asymptomatic and has been sent home to self-quarantine. The corrections sergeant tested on May 7, and the results were provided to MDC on the evening of May 11. The officer is back to work at the facility.
  • e. On June 16, 2020, an MDC supervisor assigned to the Community Custody Program was tested off site at a UNMH testing facility. On June 16, 2020, the results of the testing were returned and found to be positive for COVID-19. As a result the supervisor has been sent home to self-quarantine.
    In review of the supervisor’s activity in days leading up to the positive test result, MDC has confirmed that there was no contact with any inmates in the Community Custody Program. The supervisor did however have contact with Community Custody staff and, as per protocol, those identified have been sent to test with DOH and self-quarantine until results have been returned.
    MDC emphasizes this instance was not due to communal spread and the supervisor works at a satellite office off site. The main facility remains COVID free with no positive cases to include both inmates and staff.
  • f.  On June 20, 2020, an MDC officer, working in the facility, has tested positive for COVID-19. The officer was tested at UNMH on June 18, 2020 and received the positive test results on June 20, 2020. The officer was asymptomatic as no signs or symptoms were present at screening prior to entering the facility for shift. As a result the officer was sent home to self-quarantine.
    As a result of the findings, MDC temporarily locked down the entire facility in order to conduct a facility wide cleaning and lifted the lock down once that was completed. The pods this officer worked in will be locked down for inmate observation by medical as a precaution.
    MDC is also reviewing video, as recommended by NMDOH, to identify anyone who was in close contact with the positive officer. Those identified have been sent to UNMH as high priority for testing and will remain in self-quarantine at home until test results have been returned.

  • g. On June 23, 2020, a general population inmate tested positive for COVID. The test was administered June 20. The inmate was placed in isolation in a negative pressure room/cell. MDC is conducting contact tracing to identify those who came into contact with the inmate.
    To mitigate any further spread, all pods with possible exposure are locked down and inmates are quarantined. 
     
  • h.  On June 24, MDC identified a supervisor who tested positive. The individual had very limited contact within the facility; however, MDC is conducting contact tracing to identify any close contact with staff and inmates. The officer was sent home to self-quarantine. 

2. Q. What happens to an inmate who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

A. An inmate who tests positive for COVID-19 is placed in isolation, alone in a cell inside a negative pressure room/cell. The inmate does not leave the cell. Showers, toilets, and sinks are inside the cell. The inmate is assigned a tablet for approved video visits. After the 14-day isolation period, the inmate will have a brief screening, including a temperature check on that day. If the screening does not indicate any current COVID-19 symptoms, the inmate will be cleared to return to general population.
 

3. Q. Are any inmates in isolation at this time?

A. Three inmates are currently in isolation as a precautionary measure in negative pressure rooms. Their test results are pending. When their 14-day quarantine period ends, the inmates will have a brief screening, including a temperature check on the 14th day. If the screening does not indicate any current COVID-19 symptoms, the inmates will be cleared to return to general population.


4. Q. Did the inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 contract the coronavirus at MDC?

A. No.


5. Q. How many inmates have been identified as being at risk for COVID-19?

A. Zero at this time. Between March 29 and April 11, 2020, close to 80 inmates were considered at risk and were tested for COVID-19. All the inmates’ tests results were negative for COVID-19. After a 14-day quarantine period, the inmates had a brief screening, including a temperature check. The screenings did not indicate any current COVID-19 symptoms, so the inmates were cleared to return to general population.

 

6. Q. How will inmates receive medical treatment if they test positive for COVID-19?

A. Inmates with COVID-19 will be medically treated following the recommendations of the New Mexico Department of Health and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

 

7. Q. How will inmates who test positive for COVID-19 be housed?

A. Inmates who test positive for COVID-19 will be placed in isolation in individual cells in a negative pressure room.

 

8. Q. What is a negative pressure room?

A. A negative pressure room is an isolation technique used in medical settings to prevent cross-contamination from room to room or in the case of the MDC, from cell to cell. Air flows into the cell but does not escape from the cell. MDC has six negative pressure rooms.


9. Q. What happens if a quarantined/isolated inmate is scheduled to be released from jail?

A. The individual will have to be released. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is notified and the individual will be instructed to self-quarantine at home. Prior to release, the inmate will be screened by medical staff and handed information provided by NMDOH. Individuals released who were housed in the isolation pods will be transported to their place of residence by MDC. If the inmate is currently on medication, he/she will be given a 14-day supply of their medication.

 

10. Q. Is the county equipped to handle an outbreak of COVID-19 at MDC?

A. The following information applies:

  • a. MDC is following CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance on management of
  • COVID-19 inmates in correctional and detention facilities.
  • b. MDC is equipped with six negative pressure rooms/cells.
  • c. MDC is working/communicating with internal medical provider.
  • d. MDC is in communication with and has the full support of New Mexico Department of Health.
  • e. MDC has designated housing units (pods) to house COVID-19 positive inmates.
  • f. MDC is providing coronavirus (COVID-19) education to staff and inmates.
  • g. MDC is providing personal protective equipment to staff and inmates.
  • h. MDC is ordering and managing reserve supplies/resources.
  • i. MDC has processes in place to adequately respond to an outbreak.
  • j. MDC is continually re-evaluating and fine-tuning response/processes.

 

11. Q. Does MDC have a pandemic plan?

A. MDC’s pandemic plan is updated regularly in response to current health/medical situations.

 

12. Q. How many medical staff members are on each shift?

A. Day shift - 30 medical staff. Night shift – five nurses, five counselors

 

13. Q. Will COVID-19 positive inmates be treated at MDC or the hospital? How do you decide who should be moved to hospital?

A. MDC’s healthcare provider will provide medical care to COVID-19 positive inmates. MDC’s in-house practitioner, in consultation with the New Mexico Department of Health, will make the decision to hospitalize.


14. Q. Have any MDC employees been tested for COVID-19?

A. During the first week of April 2020, 17 MDC employees were tested for COVID-19. All the employees’ tests results were negative for COVID-19.

B. Beginning May 7, 2020, the New Mexico Department of Health began testing staff members. As of Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 446 officers and civilian staff have been tested.

 

15. Q. How many inmates, with a vulnerable immune system and/or nonviolent charges, have been released from MDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

A. Following CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations, 193 inmates have been released, as of Monday, June 22, 2020, due to a vulnerable immune system and/or nonviolent charges. A majority of these inmates were released with conditions of the court.

 

16. Q. How is the MDC working to encourage social distancing among inmates?

A. MDC posted informational posters on social distancing in each housing unit (pod). Electronic tablets used by the inmates have the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines and New Mexico Department of Health information on COVID-19. This is a mandatory notice and inmates are required to acknowledge receipt.
 

17. Q. What is the facility's policy on hand sanitizer?

A. Hand sanitizer is not allowed inside the jail due to the alcohol content. The inmates have access to soap and warm water, which is the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) preferred way to keep hands clean.

 

18. Q. What is MDC's specific screening process for newly arriving inmates?

A. Medical screening is a routine practice for incoming inmates, including taking vital signs and their temperature. Additional questions now include questions the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is using in screening the general public. Any inmate with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms will be reported to the New Mexico Department of Health for guidance on testing protocols.

 

19. Q. What else is MDC doing to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure at the jail?

A. MDC screens every inmate and staff entering the facility. At the recommendation of the New Mexico Department of Health, an isolation order has been put in place requiring all new inmates to be held in quarantine for 10 days.  As of Wednesday, June 24, 2020, there are 225 new inmates in quarantine.

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