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Morris County Correctional Facility Inmate Being Held In Medical Isolation After Testing Positive For COVID-19 Disease

An inmate at the Morris County Correctional Facility is being held in medical isolation at the facility after tests confirmed Tuesday, March 24, that he is positive for COVID-19.

The affected inmate was admitted to the facility in early March and was part of a specific group of inmates who, for existing medical or mental health reasons, started having their temperatures taken on a daily basis as of last week as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Morris County Correctional Facility
Morris County Correctional Facility

The inmate on Saturday presented with a slight temperature and was immediately put into medical isolation. A swab was submitted to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing and results received Tuesday showed he was positive for the virus.

For the immediate future, the inmate will be cared for in isolation in the facility’s 24-hour Medical Unit.

For the past two weeks, every new admission to the facility has received a COVID 19 medical screening that includes a series of questions about health, travel and potential contact with others who have contracted the coronavirus. Temperature checks of new admissions began a week ago.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the Correctional Facility through its Bureau of Corrections, has developed a three-part plan for Operational Readiness, Prevention and Management, in response to COVID-19 spread risks.Morris County Correctional Facility Inmate Being Held In Medical Isolation After Testing Positive For COVID-19 Disease

“The Morris County Correctional Facility is taking every precaution to guard against transmission of COVID-19, for the health and safety of Officers and staff and the inmates entrusted to its care.  We are ahead of the curve on sanitation and safety protocols but correctional facilities, because of the populations they house, can be susceptible to health risks,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

Before COVID-19 was declared a state and national emergency, the Morris County Correctional Facility instituted intensive disinfection policies of all common areas and housing units where the inmates live. The Correctional Facility also has its own Medical Director and a 24-hour Medical Unit.

The Correctional Facility beginning in early March has put rigorous measures in place to safeguard against possible transmission of the COVID-19 infection. They include:

  • Suspension of visits between inmates and family members;
  • Temperature checks of all Officers, Staff and Contractors entering the facility;
  • An extensive cleaning schedule that enhances ordinary rigorous sanitation of the facility. It includes disinfection of all areas within all housing units every other day; daily disinfection of all generally-touched surfaces; daily disinfection and deep cleaning of the Medical Unit; availability of hand sanitizer to staff and permitted visitors.
  • All new inmate admissions are screened in a facility vestibule prior to entering the building, and have a temperature check and medical screening.
  • Continuing a protocol started on March 5, the healthcare provider conducting Nurse’s Screening for all new admission inmates will ask the same travel and symptom questions presented to lawyers and professional visitors. If an inmate responds yes to any question, the healthcare provider shall notify custody staff to place the inmate in a cell by him or herself and call the Facility Physician to determine the next steps.

The Morris County Correctional Facility has achieved six consecutive accreditations from the American Correctional Association (ACA) for jails by mastering standards on cleanliness, nutrition, security and quality of life.

The facility also is accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC) and is governed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

 

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Morris County Correctional Facility Releases 28 Inmates To Comply With State Supreme Court Order On Mitigating Coronavirus Spread Risks

Morris County Correctional Facility Officers early Tuesday, March 24, began an orderly, staggered release of 28 non-violent offenders in compliance with a New Jersey Supreme Court order that suspended county jail sentences of certain inmates to minimize risks of the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said that a total of 17 Morris County inmates and 11 Sussex County inmates who were held in the Morris County Correctional Facility under a shared services agreement are expected to be released throughout Tuesday.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon

All the released inmates have been provided with a basic ID made by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office to facilitate their re-entry into the community. Before the release began Tuesday, there were 200 inmates housed at the Morris County Correctional Facility.

Correctional Facility Warden Christopher Klein said that all the inmates, prior to release, are having their temperature taken and are asked a series of questions about their health and whether they are experiencing coronavirus-type symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.

If an inmate to be released exhibits or indicates illness, he or she will be held until a medical evaluation is done, Warden Klein said.

Morris County Correctional Facility
Morris County Correctional Facility

“We are living in an extraordinary period of time as the courts have recognized. The release of inmates, pursuant to court order, is being conducted in a smooth and orderly manner, with assurances that all being released have an address to go to, transportation to that address, and are not exhibiting signs of illness,” Sheriff Gannon said.

“With the safety of the community paramount, the inmates being released by court order were carefully selected and not considered a danger to the public,” Sheriff Gannon said.

The release eligibility of specific inmates was made by Public Defenders and the Morris and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Offices, and approved by orders of the Superior Court.

Warden Klein said that Sussex County Correctional Facility Officers are transporting inmates back to Sussex County if they were not able to secure a ride.

The release is in compliance with the state Supreme Court order signed Sunday that suspended or commuted county jail sentences for low-risk inmates in light of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19.

The order, signed after conferences with the state Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey Association of County Prosecutors, and upon a petition by the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, commutes or suspends county jail sentences currently being served by county jail inmates either as a condition of probation for an indictable offense or because of a Municipal Court conviction.

When the public health emergency is declared over, those released from jail will have to appear before Superior Court to determine whether their custodial sentences should be reinstated or commuted.  Other aspects of sentences, such as no-contact orders and drivers’ license suspensions, remain in effect for inmates released through the Supreme Court order.

 

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon Joins Experts In Warning Of Fraud Schemes That Exploit COVID-19 Health Concerns

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon is advising residents of warnings by the FBI and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) that fraud schemes targeting your money and personal identifying information are on the rise in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon

Do your research and don’t let scammers exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money or personal identifiers by urging you to click on links, donate online to charities, or give up personal data in order to receive money or other benefits.

The NJOHSP warns that the pandemic has led to acts designed to cause panic and take advantage of unsuspecting residents, including exploitation by extremists, text messages that falsely warn of a mandatory quarantine, and misinformation on social media pages.

The FBI specifically advises residents to be on the lookout for the following:

FAKE CDC Emails: Be wary of emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations purporting to offer information on Coronavirus.

DO NOT click links or open attachments from senders you do not recognize. Scammers can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to and demand payment. BE LEERY of websites and apps that claims to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is made.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon Joins Experts In Warning Of Fraud Schemes That Exploit COVID-19 Health Concerns

PHISHING EMAILS: Be alert to phishing emails that ask you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. Government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails that seek private information in order to send you money.

PHISHING EMAILS also may claim to be related to charitable contributions, general financial relief, airline carrier refunds, fake cures and vaccines and fake Coronavirus testing kits.

FBI-RECOMMENDED TIPS:

  • Don’t open attachments or click links within emails from unfamiliar senders.
  • Don’t provide your username, password, date of birth, Social Security number, financial data, or other personal identifiers in response to an email or robocall.
  • Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
  • Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link. (For example, an address that should end in “.gov” ends, instead, in “.com.”)

COUNTERFEIT TREATMENTS OR EQUIPMENT:  Be cautious around anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing items and Personal Protective Equipment, including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns and gloves.

REPORT COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at jprcenter.gov.

MORE INFORMATION on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. Other information to assist in avoiding Coronavirus-related scams may be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website at www.fda.gov., and on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov.

REPORTING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY: If you suspect you are the victim of an Internet scam or cybercrime, or wish to report suspicious activity, visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.