Correctional centers prevent spread of COVID-19; Visitation restrictions

Coronavirus Closures and Postponements

OUACHITA PARISH, LA. (03/18/2020)– While the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the Pelican State, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is treating it as though the virus has already reached the parish.

“We are updating our protocols now and we are planning on increasing that to daily chemical cleaning on the surfaces and inside the cells,” Patrick Johnson, OPSO Warden, said.

Johnson says the department has not only stopped visitation, but also cut back on all kinds of foot traffic.

“Some services we have to have like food or pharmacy supplies, things like that, but we are going to the guard check and not actually letting them onto the compound,” Johnson said.

Officials have also increased health precautions. Guards and inmates are checked periodically to make sure temperatures are normal.

“We also have negative pressure cells that we plan on using and we are keeping those empty in case we do have someone come up with something,” Johnson said. “We can quarantine them immediately.”

Johnson says the key to keeping the virus out is to prevent it from ever getting in. That means being aware and practicing good hygiene.

“Our medical staff is staying in contact with all of our health agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to make sure that we are updating our protocols based on the most recent information,” Johnson said.

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