COVID-19 Recommendations

DOC Staff Guidelines

March 1, 2024

CDC states as the fall and winter virus season ends, it’s clear that the situation surrounding COVID-19 has changed.  Though it remains an important health threat, COVID-19 is no longer the emergency that it once was, and its health impacts increasingly resemble those of other respiratory viral illnesses, including flu and RSV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to support and suggest:

  1. Updated vaccines
  2. Frequent hand washing
  3. Frequent cleaning
  4. Air exchange or fresh air
  5. Awareness of respiratory symptoms
  6. Masking to reduce the spread of virus or for self-comfort as needed
For all DOC Staff

CDC guidance states, as much as possible, individuals who have symptoms should stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after both of the following:

  1. Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
  2. You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication).

There are no testing recommendations or requirements for the public.

For Incarcerated Individuals

Isolation: Due to the enclosed setting and the risk of infectious disease spread, the Office of the Ombudsman continues to advise isolation for those incarcerated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 infection.  Incarcerated individuals who demonstrate symptoms of respiratory illness should be tested for COVID-19. COVID-19-positive incarcerated individuals should remain in isolation with no contact with other incarcerated individuals for 7 days with release on day 8.

Quarantine: Those incarcerated individuals who are in close contact for an extended amount of time (e.g., roommates) should be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined for 5 days with a second COVID-19 test on day 5 and release from quarantine on day 6. 

New Intakes:  Each newly incarcerated person who arrives at intake should be tested for COVID-19.  If the incarcerated person is negative and without symptoms, the usual process for intake should continue with no isolation or quarantine required for infection control reasons.  A symptom check at day 5 is advised. 

Transfers:  If the incarcerated individual has no symptoms at the time of transfer, no COVID-19 test is required. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak at the sending facility and the incarcerated individual is at higher risk, a COVID-19 test prior to transfer should be considered.

As we move into the new phase of recommendations for the COVID-19 virus, it will be included in all respiratory viruses and should be one of the viruses to be considered if any incarcerated individual has respiratory symptoms or complaints.