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TEXARKANA — Jail administrators in Texarkana are carefully monitoring incoming inmates as cases of COVID 19 virus spread.

"We are screening every inmate that comes into either facility to see if they are running a temperature, and we are asking questions about where they have been recently," said Bowie County Correctional Center and Bi-State jail Warden Joseph Wilson.

The Bowie County Sheriff's Office is also following the advice of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and suspending all jail visitations until further notice.

Wilson said the jails, both located downtown Texarkana, also have a medical director employed with LaSalle Corrections that monitors CDC information and then communicates what she has learned with jail staff.

"She keeps us updated with stuff because this is changing quickly," Wilson said.

Wilson said jail staff started the new intake procedures about a week and half ago.

The staff is also cleaning cells with bleach several times a day, he said.

Staff at the Miller County Detention Center on U.S. Highway 71 are doing similar things to keep everyone healthy. It's similar to what is done every year during flu season but has been "stepped up a notch" this year, said Warden Jeffie Walker.

"Each year during flu season we take precautionary measures. We use extra bleach in the pods and have extra hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes for door handles and tables," Walker said.

The Miller County Detention Center employs a full-time registered nurse, three licensed vocational nurses and one psych nurse, Walker said.

"Some of our practices came from Texas Department of Corrections and Arkansas Department of Corrections. We try to keep a step ahead of whats going on," Walker said.

She said all new inmates that are booked in to jail have their temperatures taken and are asked questions from a virus screening form that also covers flu symptoms.

"If they answer yes to the first two questions, we alert the RN and they go through proper procedures of further evaluation," Walker said. Any positive diagnosis would be reported to the state health department.

"We are mandated to treat inmates and our medical staff does a great job," Walker said.

The American Jail Association has also compiled a list of resources on COVID-19 and will continue to update its page as more information becomes available.

For more information, visit americanjail.org.

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