Updated: October 12, 2020 10:15 PM
Created: October 12, 2020 09:45 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As COVID cases continue to rise at Bernalillo’s Metropolitan Detention Center, officials are taking extra precautions to get the virus under control.
“It’s an all hands on deck effort and everyone is continuously trying to research and learn and investigate what we can do to make the community within the facility safe for the inmates and obviously stressing the staff as well,” said Julia Rivera, Public Information Officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
MDC is in the process of testing every inmate at the facility after a surge in positive cases. MDC has tested more than 5,000 inmates so far and has nearly 200 active COVID cases.
“We’re not requiring it upon booking,” Rivera said. “What we’re doing is we’re putting all of our new intakes into what we call observation pods where they’ll quarantine for 14 days and then what we’re doing is at the five to seven day mark, while they’re in custody, we’ll test them.”
As for staff, testing is optional. But of more than 1,600 tests involving staff, there are 13 positive cases.
While it’s unclear how much of that makes up the daily Bernalillo County numbers, state data revealed a rapid response to the facility Friday, Oct. 9; Saturday, Oct. 10; and Sunday Oct.11.
County officials said they’re implementing new measures, like using a fogging system, to help disinfect.
“It’s much more effective than the conventional spray bottle and towel,” said Rivera. “We’re able to have an officer go in, whose been trained on it, and actually spray down an entire pod within a couple of minutes.”
The city’s West Side homeless shelter has also reported COVID outbreaks. City officials announced 72 additional positive cases at the facility Sunday, bringing the shelter’s total to 93.
City officials said the shelter is not taking in new residents and have suspended transportation services.
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