CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Prison Board met in Courtroom No. 2 Tuesday for the monthly meeting and discussed the state Department of Corrections’ recent mandate that all inmates be tested for COVID-19 prior to being transferred to state incarceration.
Acting Warden Michael Cook received a letter from the DOC, dated May 12, stating that the reception processes had been revised as the state enters a period of structured reopening.
The requirements, beginning May 18, include all transfers to state custody to have a negative COVID-19 test within two – five days of transport, be asymptomatic and also have a health screening at the time of transport.
In return, DOC will also perform this process and will not send inmates to county facilities without also performing the same tests.
The letter notes that any facility with concerns about testing availability to coordinate with local health departments.
Cook told the board that this came about very quickly, and he has had to scramble to get the needed test kits. He contacted Tom Greishaw, the county prison liaison for the DOC, explaining that the Clearfield County Jail does not have access to an unlimited number of tests.
Furthermore, the doctor for CCJ contacted local hospitals and learned they would not provide him with any tests to administer to inmates, as they also have a limited number of tests and do not administer them to those who do not have symptoms.
As a result, Cook said the jail should be receiving five or six test kits prior to the end of business Tuesday.
The kits will include step-by-step instructions on how to administer the test and how to pack it to be sent by courier to the lab. Results should then be available within 24-48 hours, or three days at the most.
Currently, there are five inmates at CCJ awaiting transport to state facilities.
In other business, the board held an executive session at the end of the meeting without any action being taken to discuss the position of warden. Chairman President Judge Fredric Ammerman said they had an interview later in the day for the position as well.