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Grad0507 08-04-2020 09:37 AM

A message from the Director
 
A message from the Director

"07/31/2020

A message from the Director:

Hello everyone,

Buckle up, this is going to be a long update. I've heard that there are a lot of unanswered questions that people have and its causing folks to make assumptions and fill in the gaps with their own version. I want to lay out for you what is happening systemwide and provide the reasons why some things are happening in some places but not others.

Where do we have people with COVID-19? As of today, we have people positive with COVID-19 at ISCC, SICI, SAWC, Nampa CRC, Treasure Valley CRC, and East Boise CRC. We do not yet have known positives at NICI, ICIO, PWCC, SBWCC, ISCI, IMSI, CAPP, or the Idaho Falls CRC.

What's the plan for testing? This one is complicated. It's important to understand that our capacity to test is currently limited by how quickly our partner agencies can collect and process samples. It doesn't make any sense to rush to get samples from everyone if processing will take days or weeks, so timing is key. The VA has agreed to process up to 1,500 samples per week for our agency and that includes testing for staff and incarcerated people, meaning this whole exercise is one big balancing act.

Our priority is to immediately test anyone who reports or demonstrates symptoms. We do that testing with the ID Now instrument and have [sic] results within minutes. Because the instrument can falsely yield a negative result when someone is actually positive, we retest anyone who is symptomatic but gets a negative result on the ID Now. The second test is a different kind of test and is processed at the state lab or via the VA and it is more accurate for determining positives when someone has a low viral load.

Our mass testing events ground to a halt about two weeks ago but we got things back up and running this Thursday when we retested ISCCs H-block. Mass testing is now occurring through a partnership with Saltzer Health. For those of you keeping track, we've tested the following blocks at ISCC: B, C, E, and H. We still have A, D, F, and G remaining. In the meantime, Corizon has conducted testing of people who've been exposed to someone with COVID-19. This includes testing at SAWC, SICI, Nampa and East Boise CRCs. Sadly, we've had one COVID-related fatality this week out of ISCC.

Upcoming mass testing events will focus on testing at ISCC, Nampa CRC, and the RDU at ISCI. By testing people at the RDU, we'll be able to create space to bring additional people into our system and get RIDERS into the right facilities to begin their programming period.

When will recreation restart at ISCC? We're goal setting to restart recreation at ISCCon [sic] Monday, August 3rd. All the other facilities in the south Boise complex have already restarted rec to some extent. It looks different, as we try to keep groups small and we've eliminated lots of high-touch items like weights, but we are committed to getting it running. It's been slow to happen at ISCC because it takes more staff to monitor the larger number of cohorts and honestly, we've had a lot of staff out due to exposure to COVID-19.

What happens if I was in a CRC, tested negative, and moved into a prison for medical care? Once you're deemed medically-cleared, you'll return to the CRC. We are only moving CRC residents into prisons when they require a level of medical care that is not available at the CRC. It is not punitive and once a person is recovered, they will go back to the CRC.

Are we moving? IDOC has been exploring emergency housing options that would help create space to allow us to better manage this pandemic. When we started this crisis, IDOC was operating right around 100% of capacity. That means we had almost no wiggle room. Our population has been reduced by about 900 since March, but given how many of our beds are in open, dormitory-style settings, we still don't have the operational flexibility we need. As a result, we will be relocating some minimum-custody males to a short-term, emergency housing option soon. A couple key pieces of information for you to be armed with: the move will likely be for about 3 months, it is in-state, and if you are selected to move, we will provide an opportunity to call your loved ones once you arrive. There are security concerns that prevent us from telling you more at this point. It isn't often that I would expect or even ask you to trust me, but I'm going to one this one. Those selected to move are going to find the new accommodations comfortable!

That's it for tonight. I'll have another update for you next week. In the meantime, please take care of yourself.

Thanks-

Josh"

A link is not available because it was only provided on paper to inmates. The earliest similar link is from 06/30/2020: https://idahoprisonblog.blogspot.com...or-tewalt.html


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