Racine Co. Sheriff reports no staff or inmates with COVID-19 at their facilities

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling

RACINE — No staff or inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 within the Racine County system as of May 1, Sheriff Christopher Schmaling announced Friday.

As the third-largest jail population in the state of Wisconsin, the sheriff and his staff introduced in early March a robust plan of safety precautions intended to keep first responders, frontline staff, inmates and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19. On average, there are 500 inmates daily and over 200 staff members across all operations in Racine County.

These safety measures include:

  • Sanitization of each jail cell and common areas multiple times per day and night.
  • Reduction of approximately 250 inmates, allowing only violent criminals and mandatory arrests, such as domestic violence offenders, to be housed at this time.
  • Temperature checks of each staff member, all new inmate arrivals and visitors.
  • Instituted an inmate sewing program in early March which has produced thousands of cloth-protective face masks.
  • Cloth-protective face masks issued to all staff, inmates, first responders and other at-risk citizens in our community.
  • New inmates undergo a two-step, 14-day quarantine process upon arrival and prior to being placed into the general population.
  • Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes placed throughout the jail.
  • Instituted new work schedules for select staff to help reduce exposure and cross-contamination among co-workers and for the safety of their families.
  • Routine sanitation of squad cars and other emergency vehicles.
  • All staff and inmates have received training on hygiene, handwashing, proper sanitization and cross-contamination.

In addition, beginning April 29, 2020, the Sheriff’s Office added UV sanitation of all areas using the Skytron 1140 Sentry Disinfection Robot which uses a highly germicidal ultraviolet bandwidth which causes photochemical damage to cellular DNA and virus RNA. This technology is most commonly used in hospitals to quickly sanitize surgical rooms, municipal water supplies and is now being utilized in the Racine County Jail. Studies have shown that UV disinfection is 99.999% effective in the reduction of coronavirus. Additionally, this device can also be used in other county facilities, including the Racine County Board Room and Racine County Circuit Courts, so that our county government and judicial system can continue to safely serve our community, thereby creating peace of mind for all. A grant covered the purchase of the technology.

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