Preventing the coronavirus in the Butte County jail

If someone has a temperature higher than 104 degrees or experience any symptoms related to the virus - deputies might not let them in.

Posted: Mar 20, 2020 6:38 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - While most of us have a choice in whether we stay home altogether or practice social distancing as we still go out to work or shop – not everyone has the freedom.

Action News Now Jafet Serrato shows us how deputies and inmates are handling these uncertain times.

"This is not a time to panic,” Sheriff Kory Honea said. This is the time to prepare."

Sheriff Kory Honea is not taking any chances with the coronavirus.

"What we have done is institute enhanced screening procedures for everybody who is arrested and brought into the jail," Honea said.

If someone has a temperature higher than 104 degrees or experience any symptoms related to the virus - deputies might not let them in.

"We're currently working with the courts to obtain additional authority... that would allow us to cite and release those people and have them come back to court at a later date," Honea said.

Right now, the jail holds 560 inmates with room for about only 50 more. Sheriff Honea said if the virus does reach his jail, that's a big worry."

Honea said the Butte County Jail only has three beds.

"If we had a significant outbreak within the facility, that would be extremely difficult for us to manage given the number of medical beds we have," Honea said.

But Honea - and all of us - are no strangers to emergencies - most recently the Camp Fire and the Oroville spillway.

"That emergency was visited upon us instantaneously and we had to react,” Honea said. “If there’s an upside to what we’re experiencing now it’s the fact that we have notice."

And just like those times - Honea says we'll get through this.

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