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Gallatin Co. Detention Center updates COVID policy after new cases appear in two inmates

Both 'negative pressure' quarantine rooms in jail occupied, jail staff say spread is 'contained'
Posted at 11:48 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 13:48:49-04

Those in jail are not immune to the pandemic, as the Gallatin County Detention Center has known since the beginning.

They are now dealing with more cases of their own.

According to jail staff, there are two cases of COVID-19 inside the Gallatin County Detention Center as of Wednesday, Aug. 19.

They also say they are both in the contained quarantine rooms, as well, and policies are following suit in every other pod.

They say this is something that they’ve prepared for since Phase One.

“Having illness in the detention center is nothing new for us,” says Capt. Jim Anderson, jail commander of the Gallatin County Detention Center.

To Anderson, the Gallatin County Detention Center is capable of protecting those who find themselves at their lowest points.

“We deal with people in the worst situations and sometimes in the worst health conditions, as well,” Anderson says. “That’s why we have a nursing staff here.”

Two negative pressure rooms are there to stop the spread.

Anderson says both of those rooms are full.

“We currently have two in the jail and one more recent than the other one and they are both currently residing in our negative pressure rooms so they are isolated,” Anderson says.

Jail staff worked quickly with the health department, following the same protocols they would across the rest of the county and keeping them up-to-date.“We do tracing, right?” Anderson says. “We look back and see if they had any contact with anybody and for how long. The new CDC and health department guidelines are six feet and more than 15 minutes.”

So far, Anderson says the spread is contained, putting each of those rooms to the test.

“There was a lot of good forethought put into that that we didn’t even really expect or need at the time, more designed originally for tuberculosis,” Anderson says.

And for the jail, it isn’t the first time.

“We’ve had some asymptomatic folks in and out, too,” Anderson says. “We only became aware of it because of their location, to tracing.”

Anderson says it’s become a part of everyday life in the jail.

“We are used to having sickness at the jail and those rooms get used,” Anderson says. “Our goal is to keep everybody as healthy as we can.”

Anderson adds that every protocol that they are following and changing, they are talking with the health department at least once a week while following CDC protocol.

While the jail continues to monitor for further spread, staff must continue going through a screening process and following the new and changing health department rules.