County jail staff commended by legislators for reining in Covid outbreak

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2020 at 6:30 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature officially commended the staff at the Orleans County Jail for its actions to rein in an outbreak of Covid-19 cases at the jail on Platt Street.

Last month 13 corrections officers tested positive and three inmates also has the virus. Other staff that had close contact with those who tested positive also had to isolate at home.

That left the jail, which has 45 staff members, with far fewer workers to run the site. But many of the employees worked extra shifts – 106 needed to filled due to workers being out due to testing positive for Covid and being in close contact with someone who had it.

Lynne Johnson, Legislature chairwoman, said the staff deserves to be “commended for outstanding service to the community.”

The outbreak hit the jail from Nov. 2 to Nov. 23. Inspectors from the New York State Commission of Correction visited the Orleans County last month and concluded the site has the needed protocols in place to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

Commission of Correction staff reviewed the jail’s protocols for screening of employees, incarcerated individuals and anyone entering the facility. They also said signage throughout the facility, disinfecting procedures and the utilization of face coverings are consistent with the guidance provided by the Commission, the New York State Department of Health, and the Center for Disease Control.

“The jail staff worked above and beyond,” Johnson said on Wednesday during the County Legislature meeting. “The outbreak created a major challenge to the operation of the facility.”

She said the employees who worked extra shifts despite a higher risk of being exposed to the virus.

She praised the correction officers, command staff, kitchen staff, nursing staff, Jail Superintendent Scott Wilson and Sheriff Chris Bourke for seeing the jail through the outbreak.

There were 61 Covid tests administered to staff and inmates with 13 COs and three inmates testing positive.