100% COVID Testing of Inmates and Jail Staff Credited for MCSO’s Success

Rochester, NY (February 17, 2021) – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, MCSO has been working diligently to keep the spread of the Coronavirus to a minimum amongst our deputies, staff and incarcerated individuals. We have taken many proactive steps to include extensive sanitization of all MCSO facilities, required use of PPE, social distancing protocols, 100% COVID testing of inmates and jail staff, testing for any MCSO personnel who desires a test, totaling nearly 10,000 tests over the last 90 days. These collective efforts exceed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

On Thanksgiving evening, November 26, 2020, MCSO began to experience an increase in COVID-19 cases within the Monroe County Jail. Over the course of the next few weeks, Sheriff Todd Baxter challenged his staff to come up with an aggressive plan to reduce the number of COVID-19 positive individuals inside the jail. One of the many comprehensive plans that was put into place was 100% testing of all deputies, staff and inmates within the facility. This was a huge undertaking that involved many hours of planning and preparation.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, the Monroe County Jail, at its highest point, had a total of 260 COVID-19 positive inmates inside the facility. As of today, that number stands at two COVID-19 positive inmates, both of whom tested positive during the jail intake screening process. MCSO has conducted 5,238 tests on inmates since November 26th and a total of 5,721 tests since the beginning of the pandemic.

MCSO has continued to test the entire inmate population once a week and is pleased to report it has had zero positive test results in General Population over the past three weeks. MCSO also proactively quarantines all inmates who enter our facility for a total of 14 days. Each new inmate that enters the facility is tested on days #1, 3, 9 and 14, with a combination of rapid and PCR tests prior to entry into General Population. As of today, MCSO is extremely proud to report there are no COVID-19 positive incarcerated individuals housed in the General Population. The remaining two incarcerated individuals who tested positive for the virus upon intake remain isolated from the rest of the jail population.

On December 28th , MCSO expanded testing to everyone entering the jail, to include all jail deputies and staff. MCSO developed the Mass COVID-19 Testing Center, allowing us to conduct in-house testing. To date, MCSO has conducted 4,599 rapid tests with a total of 28 positive results. That is 28 asympotmatic deputies and staff members who were identified as COVID-positive through the on-site testing center, who were then kept out of the facility and sent home to quarantine, preventing the spread of the virus. We are extremely proud to report over the past three weeks, MCSO has had no staff members test positive for the virus at the MCSO Mass COVID-19 Testing Center.

In addition, MCSO has designated an Incarcerated Individual Officer to educate and address the questions and needs of the inmates as it pertains to the virus.

Our staff has been on the front lines of the pandemic since the beginning of this crisis and has been innovative, purposeful, and diligent in our efforts to keep incarcerated individuals, the citizens of our community and the families of our deputies safe.