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YORKVILLE – Visitors will still be able to visit with Kendall County Jail inmates electronically during the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency, according to the sheriff's officials.
Kendall County Sheriff's Dep. Dan Briars said the jail started exclusively using video visitation in lieu of in-person visits even before the COVID-19 coronavirus hit – and he doesn't anticipate that changing moving forward – but the jail is still allowing those electronic visitations with the COVID-19 outbreak. With electronic visitations, he said, the visitor uses a monitor in the jail lobby to talk with the inmate.
However, Briars said, the sheriff's office corrections division are doing what they can to prevent the coronavirus from getting into or spreading within the jail.
“We have taken steps to try to mitigate that possibility,” Briars said.
Briars said those steps taken before an electronic jail visit include visitors taking a screening questionnaire, per IDPH recommendations for correctional facilities. He said those questions include a general symptoms overview and whether any symptoms the visitor is exhibiting are consistent with COVID19.
If jail officials determine a visitor has been exhibiting the symptoms that correspond with COVID-19, "then we ask them to postpone the visit for 14 days," Briars said.
The update comes after Kendall County health officials said on Wednesday that the county has its first confirmed case of the coronavirus. There are now 422 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 22 Illinois counties, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said during a Thursday, March 19 news conference.
Briars said KenCom dispatchers also have been made aware of the address of the Kendall County woman with the confirmed COVID-19 case.
“So should a call for service initiate or originate from that location, that there is a process in place to make us aware so we would be able to utilize the proper personal protective equipment" for responding deputies, Briars said.
Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird said sheriff's officials also have spoken with medical and food providers at the jail to make sure corrections has an adequate amount of food and supplies and to make sure those services will continue uninterrupted. He said the sheriff's office limited access to the jail from non-essential outside services.
"We’ve also suspended [recreation programs] but are still within the guidelines of jail standards,” Baird said.
Baird also said evictions within the county have been suspended and the next two scheduled sheriff’s sales have been canceled.
“And we will re-evaluate as this situation progresses,” Baird said.