Visitation at the Butler County Jail on Hanover Street has been canceled until further notice as a precaution against coronavirus, Sheriff Richard Jones announced today.
The jail uses a video visitation system, but the concern is for the hundreds of family members who gather in the lobby each weekend for visitation.
Jones said it is prudent to limit these large crowds to help prevent the potential of further spreading of the virus.
Inmates will be given additional free calling privileges until visitation is reinstated.
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The Middletown City Jail has also postponed visitation until further notice as a precaution for first responders.
Visitation at the Middletown jail is usually held on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Those wishing to visit must call in a schedule a 30-minute slots, but Major Leanne Hood said personnel must escort visitors through the building to the visitation room. Visitation takes place via a phone and windows in a separation wall.
“It is not so much about the inmates, but about or first responders who could come in contact with someone who is sick,” Hood said.
The jail, which can house a maximum of 45 to 50 inmates, “continues to practice our strict cleaning protocol,” the major said.
The jail medical staff routinely evaluates people when they are booked into the jail and are asking more questions as part of that process.
Jones also announced that he is increasing staffing for dispatching in the Regional Emergency Communications Center. There was an increase in calls in Oxford on Tuesday night.
Staff met with Oxford Police and developed a plan to handle the continued increase in calls anticipated during the coming week. Miami University announced on Tuesday it was suspended face-to-face classes beginning Wednesday through at least April 12.
Jones is also activating the back-up center with staffing which will primarily be concerned with 24-hour monitoring of the COVID-19 situation. The back-up center will also be prepared to assist other dispatch centers in the county if they experience staffing issues related to sick employees. Anyone who has questions about the coronavirus can contact the center at 513-785-1290.
“We watch our numbers every day and make adjustments accordingly,” said Jones. “Miami University cancelled in-person classes and uptown Oxford was busy overnight. We have to adjust for that.”
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