ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Sheriff Tim Howard has appointed an internal team to oversee coronavirus preparedness within the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
The team consists of Undersheriff Mark Wipperman, Dr. Kevin McGee, Chief Medical Officer for Correctional Health, Christa Cutrona RN, MSN – Correctional Health Director, and 1st Deputy Superintendent Michael Reardon – Correctional Health & Compliance.
According to Sheriff Howard, there’s also civilian personnel.
“Nearly a month ago, he had our first encounter with an individual who was considered a medium risk after traveling to China. He was stopped and detained at the U.S. Port of Entry – Buffalo for an outstanding warrant, then he was transported to the Erie County Holding Center,” said Sheriff Howard. “Our medical staff was current on the initial CDC guidelines and identified the prisoner as a medium risk. But now, with the virus spreading throughout the country and the state, we need to be prepared for inmates who pose a potential risk to our staff and other inmates.”
The team is working on developing and implementing:
- Updating the Infectious Disease Plan
- Implementing a Respiratory Protection Program to ensure all current guidelines are followed
- The team will focus on protecting Sheriff’s Office employees, inmates in its custody, and visitors
- Both jails are taking steps to prepare an area for identified individuals that are mandated to be quarantined
- All divisions of the Sheriff’s Office are currently reviewing policies and procedures related to infection prevention and transportation of an individual in its custody
- The Sheriff’s Office is updating plans and equipment for patrol vehicles and substations
Howard says the COVID-19 Preparedness Team will meet weekly to review policy and procedures, discuss the latest medical information, map the location of new cases or suspected cases, and update him with the latest data.