August 12th, 2020
RE: Bonneville County Jail - COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 virus was discovered in the United States, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and staff have been engaged with planning and implementation of safety and intake procedures at the Bonneville County Jail relating to the many variables tied to the spread of the virus. The CDC has published guidance on the management of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in correctional and detention facilities that Medical Staff and Jail Administration have been working hard to implement and follow. Deputies and Medical Staff, under the direction of Dr. Jeff Keller, have been working with Eastern Idaho Public Health to adapt appropriate intake, screening, and housing processes inside the facility for all inmates.
Last week Deputies identified an inmate reporting and showing symptoms of sickness and took steps to isolate that inmate away from others in the housing unit. The inmate was tested for the COVID-19 virus and showed a positive result. At that time Eastern Idaho Public Health Officials and Medical Staff determined all inmates housed in that particular unit of the jail should also be tested for the COVID-19 virus. Procedures to keep that particular housing unit isolated and minimize contamination from other parts of the jail as much as possible were immediately implemented.
The results of testing in that housing unit returned to Sheriff’s Office Administration late yesterday and indicated multiple inmates showing positive for COVID-19. Over the past few months, testing of multiple inmates who indicated possible exposure to a person with the virus or showing sickness or symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus had been performed according to protocols in place producing negative results. Deputies and Medical Staff are continuing to monitor inmates this particular housing unit and appropriately treat and isolate it with preventative measures to minimize potential spread to other parts of the jail.
The Bonneville County Jail has a staff of nearly 100 Deputies and Medical Personnel who have been diligent in performing their duties and taking care of inmates who come and go from our facility. Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Administration will continue to work with Eastern Idaho Public Health to maintain proper screening for anyone who enters the facility and follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19.
Bonneville County Sheriff Paul J. Wilde said, “I would like to personally advise the public who have family members inside our facility, that the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office has made every effort to protect everyone inside the Jail. Our facility is extremely well maintained and clean. We have a professional medical staff lead by Dr. Jeff Keller, a nationally recognized Correctional Medicine expert. We are well equipped to take care of the inmates in our custody. The Bonneville County Jail adheres to all Idaho Jail Standards as well as nationally recognized jail standards. We are inspected by the Bonneville County Commissioners every quarter throughout the year and by the Idaho Sheriff’s Association once every year for jail standards certification. The Bonneville County Jail is not like the rest of the community in that those in custody do not get to take a day off and stay home when they are sick. They remain in custody and are taken care of by medical staff at the jail and we do not release inmates because they are sick. With that said, the jail is like a small city with the same issues that we all deal with as we move throughout our day. We will continue to monitor the inmates and staff to make sure that we are taking the best care of those that are in our custody and the Deputies that maintain order in our jail. As the Sheriff of Bonneville County, I am proud of the facility and staff at the Jail and their dedication to the extremely hard duties they’re faced with day in and day out. They have endured and accomplished many things as we continue working through the issues of this pandemic. “