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COVID-19 Updates

by Rebecca Witte last modified Aug 03, 2020 01:38 PM

Utilize the links on the right-hand side of this page to access more information that may be useful to you. Please check back often as this virus, and the information related to it, change frequently. The information below outlines the steps taken by KDOC to ensure the health and safety of those within our care:

  • In early March, the KDOC team began coordinating with KDHE to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic. KDHE assisted with the review and approval of all of our pandemic plans
  • We began encouraging hand washing and the additional sanitization of high-traffic areas
  • On March 13, we closed our facilities to all visitors, tour groups, volunteers and mentors
  • On March 13, we issued our first communication to residents and family members and began weekly updates to these groups from there on out
  • The last week of March, we launched additional pages to our external website with content including FAQs, family communication, KDHE/CDC resources, etc. to keep family and the community informed of our work
  • Beginning March 18, we implemented a passive screening process of all employees and contractors
  • Beginning in March, the Prisoner Review Board cancelled in-person comment sessions and encouraged the continued use of mailing/e-mailing comments
  • We also limited transfers between facilities to only those needed as a safety precaution for individuals
  • We began an active screening process on March 23 of all employees, contractors and residents who have off-site work assignments
  • We eliminated the $2 primary visit fee for those reporting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to ensure that there are no barriers to a resident reporting their symptoms
  • Beginning March 23, Parole Offices closed to the public. Those staff members continue to work, monitoring their clients remotely
  • On April 3, Kansas Correctional Industries and their inmate workers began production of cloth face masks with the goal of distributing three masks per staff member and resident throughout KDOC
  • Beginning April 3, we began an Intake Isolation Unit at Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility for all new adult males beginning their sentences with KDOC. These individuals will spend a minimum of 14 days in isolation, being monitored for symptoms consistent with COVID-19, prior to being moved to our Reception and Diagnostic Unit for additional processing. These strategies, along with educating our staff and residents regarding signs and symptoms and increased sanitization of high-traffic areas are just a few of the ways we are working to keep our staff and residents healthy and safe. Separate IIU also established within current buildings for women at the Topeka Correctional Facility and youth at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex
  • On April 4, we implemented a reduced movement plan for the Lansing facility to keep residents from one cellhouse from mixing with another cellhouse. Meals began to be served in cellhouses, rather than the chow hall for all medium and maximum residents
  • On April 6, we opened a hotline for family members and citizens to call and seek answers to their questions related to KDOC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also implemented an e-mail address for the same cause,
  • On April 9, cloth face masks distributed to Lansing residents and staff in accordance with the April 3 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for use
  • On April 15, four Kansas National Guard members arrived at Lansing Correctional Facility to assist with medical support
  • On April 23, 10 Kansas National Guard members arrived at Lansing Correctional Facility to assist with moving all LCF residents to the newly reconstructed facility. The move began on Monday, April 20 and was finished on Wednesday, April 29. The new facility has improved airflow, security and the ability to keep surfaces cleaner
  • Mass testing of all LCF residents was completed on May 6.
  • Implemented updated screening guidelines that outline that staff must stay on leave until 10 days from the onset of symptoms AND 72 hours fever free without the use of medication AND there has been a significant improvement in symptoms or the symptoms resolve and the confirmed COVID-19 patient tests negative. Previously, it was 10 days from the onset of symptoms OR 72 hours fever free without the use of medication and a significant improvement in symptoms.
  • Closed the Wichita Work Release Facility indefinitely on May 14 and moved all residents to Lansing Correctional Facility as the location was deemed a COVID-19 cluster site. 
  • KDHE declared Lansing Correctional Facility as a contained COVID-19 site.
  • The Kansas National Guard ended their assignment at Lansing Correctional Facility on June 4.
  • Initiated a process for the transfer of older and medically fragile residents out of dormitory-style housing
    at the Oswego Correctional Facility. As of June 30th, this number was reduced to 136 and July 28th to 87 with utilization prior to the pandemic at or near the rated capacity of 262. Transfers will continue through the summer/fall as non-dormitory beds become available at other facilities and Oswego will transition their mission to serving other less vulnerable residents with a new socially distanced target capacity of 100.
  • Mask requirements were expanded department wide on July 3rd to include Parole Offices, Central Office and at all facilities, to now also include those without positive resident cases of the coronavirus. 
  • In June, KDOC set facility specific goals to review and establish revised capacity levels to improve social distancing in all KDOC dormitory-style housing units. As of July 24th, dormitory-style beds in these units have been reduced by more than 1,000.
  • KDOC implemented revised admission processes in collaboration with county jails, local health departments, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the University of Kansas Medical Center to increase testing of county jail inmates at the jail prior to their transfer to a KDOC facility.
  • Conducted assessments of air-handling systems in correctional facilities resulting in recommendations for investment in new and additional heating/cooling system equipment to improve ventilation and reduce potential for aerosol transmission of the virus.
  • On July 27th, admissions to KDOC facilities from the Sedgwick county jail were suspended due to current prevalence of cases in that jail.

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