March 3, 2020
NYC DOC STATEMENT ON RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS
“The health and well-being of our personnel and people in custody is of paramount importance. The Department is working in coordination with the NYC Department of Health and Correctional Health Services to identify and evaluate detainees with potential symptoms and refer them for testing as necessary.” - Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, Peter Thorne.
- All staff are advised to follow basic flu protocols such as covering nose/mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing hands frequently.
- Correction Officers have the authority to refer anyone in custody to Correctional Health Services (CHS) for a medical evaluation.
- Any individual entering DOC custody undergoes medical screening.
- By policy, anyone in custody who is sick or injured or is suspected of being sick or injured is referred to CHS for a medical evaluation.
- CHS, a division of NYC Health + Hospitals, is independently responsible for the full range of health care to persons in the custody of DOC.
- For details on the handling of anyone in custody suspected of having the Coronavirus, or any other infectious disease, please contact CHS.
- The Department provides refresher training courses for employees on infectious disease precautions, which includes modules on communicable disease.
- All DOC housing units, dayrooms, and common spaces are cleaned and sanitized once per day with shower areas cleaned three times per day.
- Transport buses will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Any transport bus that is transporting a person who is symptomatic of a respiratory illness will be sanitized immediately after transporting that individual. DOC's environmental health unit is providing additional sanitation and sanitization training to all institutional aids and sanitation work details.
- Any staff member who shows up to work with respiratory ailments will be sent home and required to provide a doctor's note with clearance of COVID-19 or flu in order to return. Staff have also been instructed to refer any person in custody who is exhibiting respiratory symptoms to CHS for evaluation.
- To ensure NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services are able to adequately house detainees with COVID-19, the Department of Correction is utilizing its communicable disease unit and is opening additional housing units to expand spaces for isolation and increase social distancing.
- As a quality assurance measure, DOC has implemented a process for regularly inspecting housing areas to ensure cleaning and sanitation supplies are available as necessary. This includes:
- Rounding three times per tour (for a total of nine times per day) to ensure the availability of soap and that sinks are in working order
- Daily audits of the availability of these items in housing areas and high-trafficked areas (e.g. intakes) performed by DOC's Quality Assurance and Integrity staff and staff from the Chief of Facility Operation's office, who advise on any remediation needed
- Every detainee has access to their own bar of soap and we have left soap in every bathroom at every sink. Most detainees procure soap from the commissary, but Corcraft bar soap is available for every detainee if they need to replenish their supplies. The availability of soap in the housing area, the presence of soap at every sink, and a listing of any detainee complaint are audited by area captains and documented three times during their 8 hour tours. In addition, the presence of cleaning supplies and the operability of all sinks is recorded. In addition, our Environmental Health Unit and Bureau of Facility Operations are conducting audits in the facilities daily (including weekends) to ensure that all issues were abated