A man has been placed in a solitary quarantine cell at the Santa Fe County jail after he displayed symptoms of a respiratory illness.
The man, who was brought to the jail by the U.S Marshals Service on Saturday, went through an enhanced medical screening process meant to identify people with symptoms of COVID-19.
Department of Health officials went to the jail to administer the test, but the results were not available as of Monday afternoon, said Santa Fe County spokeswoman Carmelina Hart.
The man will spend 14 days in an individual cell in a quarantine pod, Hart said.
The jail enacted new procedures last week to automatically quarantine all people entering the facility — whether they were displaying signs of illness or appeared to have no symptoms. That came on top of an earlier decision to indefinitely stop visitation in an effort to minimize the possibility of anyone in the jail being exposed to the virus.
Those who are booked or transferred to the facility and have no symptoms will spend seven days in a separate pod before going into the general population. If a person displays symptoms upon booking, he or she will be taken to a quarantine pod with 10 individual jail cells for 14 days.
The quarantines will not affect a person's ability to be released from jail, Hart said.
If a person is to be released before the seven- or 14-day period is complete, they will be given the appropriate information for their situation, officials said.
When a person who has been tested or is displaying symptoms of the virus is released, Hart said, they will be told to contact the state's Department of Health and to follow its directions on whether to self-quarantine. Jail officials also will provide the person's information to the Department of Health.
The state Department of Corrections — which discontinued contact visits last week — suspended all types of visitation, including those from attorneys, at the state’s 11 prison facilities through the end of April 2020, according to a statement issued Monday.
Spokesman Eric Harrison said the department’s Information and Technology Division is working to bring video visits to state prisons, which could function similarly to a Skype or FaceTime video call. He said he wasn't sure when the department would have that technology in place.
Harrison said no inmates have been tested, but if the need arises, the department will have tests conducted on site.
He said prison officials have gone into each pod in the facilities to inform inmates about COVID-19. Information sheets from the Department of Health have been posted inside the prisons, telling inmates about COVID-19 and the best practices to avoid contracting the virus.