PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) – County jail facilities have been instructed to suspend access to their facilities in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone released a statement Sunday saying, “I feel that it is appropriate to immediately suspend access into our jail facilities for volunteer or supplemental services.”
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Penzone says there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county jails. He said his decision was “a precautionary measure to protect our officers, staff, and the incarcerated population to mitigate the potential spread of this disease.”
Video visitation is still accessible with tablet technology that allows inmates visits through video, messaging and e-mails, Penzone said. Further restrictions involving inmate visits and programs will be evaluated on a daily basis as new information about the virus becomes available.
Penzone says disinfection activity continues and includes more frequent sanitizing of frequently-touched surfaces. Inmates are being encouraged to frequently wash their hands with soap.
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"The health and safety of our staff is my number one priority. We must also minimize exposure to our jail population to ensure we mitigate any exposure to infectious disease," says Penzone.