Warden: No virus at county jail, staff doing a ‘phenomenal job’

PHOTO PROVIDED Pictured are Corrections Officer-Leathers, Mental Health-Philippon, Food Service-Berry, Deputy Warden-Komanic, Nurse-Perry, Food Service-Renzo, and Lieutenant-Powell. For security reasons, first names are not given.

McELHATTAN — Clinton County Commissioners have declared next week as National Corrections Officers and Employees Week.

Normally, there’s a special celebration at the Clinton County Correctional Facility to show appreciation for the good work that staff does all year long.

Due to the coronavirus, that won’t be happening this year, according to Warden Angela Hoover.

However, Hoover said there’s a lot of thanks and appreciation to go around, as she talked about how the facility is faring during the pandemic.

First and foremost, there are no positive cases of the virus in inmates or staff, she said.

“We haven’t had any detainees with symptoms requiring testing. No confirmed cases and no suspected cases,” Hoover said.

Although there have been no cases, Hoover said the facility is prepared and has test swabs for anyone showing symptoms. And she assured that the prison has contracted medical services and a doctor on staff.

“The staff has had some unique challenges and there have been lots of changes as things have evolved and they haave handled it so well. We haven’t had any call-offs or complaints. And they are required to wear a mask during their entire shift. The only time they can take them off is when they eat or are in the lounge,” she said.

As for the inmates, they also are coping well with all the changes and restrictions in connection with the virus, she said.

“Inmates were given two masks and they are required to wear them when they go outside of their living quarters. Visitation has been restricted and movement within the facility has been decreased to help eliminate exposure. Our focus is on containment,” she said.

On Thursday, Hoover reported 53 county inmates at the prison. She said that the facility averages about 77 but when the coronavirus took off, probation and courts worked to reduce the population. About 30 percent of the population — those whose release dates were near or were incarcerated for minor charges — were released early, she said.

As for newly arriving inmates, Hoover said a reception unit was created where new detainees are held for 14 days. She called it a monitoring period to make sure none have symptoms of the virus. They have television, books and magazines, she noted.

The warden couldn’t say enough about the wonderful job that staff is doing during this critical time.

“They are a well-trained team. They’ve gone through a number of changes and challenges. The staff response has been absolutely incredible. They’re doing a phenomenal job,” she said.


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