LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Corrections has enacted screening measures to protect its facilities from the potential spread of COVID-19.
Anyone who comes into a prison facility will be asked a series of questions and may have their temperature checked before being allowed inside. The policy applies to all staff, visitors, volunteers and contractors.
“Our primary focus is on public safety,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said in a statement. “We take this issue seriously and we will do all we can to keep the public safe, as well as those we supervise across this state.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency Tuesday nights after to Michigan residents tested positive for COVID-19. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.
MDOC said it will consult with local health departments and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on how to proceed in communities where there are outbreaks. It is a possibility all outside visitors and contact will be barred from anyone who isn’t a part of MDOC’s staff.
The St. Joseph County Jail has put all non-essential visitation on hold until further notice.
If visits are canceled, prisoners will receive increased time for phone calls and sending electronic messages.
MDOC is also reviewing all its scheduled large events and considering how to proceed with them.