Sheriff’s Message regarding COVID-19 Prevention Measures at Purgatory Correctional Facility

While at present there have been no cases of COVID-19 at Purgatory Correctional Facility (PCF), due to the measures called for by State and Federal governments, I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of the steps the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has already taken, and those we will be taking in the near future, to help manage the COVID-19 virus at PCF. Last week, PCF established a Disease Committee specifically to oversee and manage the execution of our four-phase pandemic response plan. The committee has already made adjustments to our intake screening process (which now includes specific COVID-19 related medical questions), distributed educational information regarding the COVID-19 virus and basic sanitation practices to both staff and our inmates, implemented an inmate sanitation crew within the facility, and established an internal system for tracking illness and potential COVID-19 symptoms among staff and the inmate population.

Effective immediately, and until further notice, the following operational adjustments will also be implemented at the Purgatory Correctional Facility:

-The Disease Committee will meet weekly to review and discuss any available statistical data including, but not limited to, National exposure data, State exposure data, County exposure data, and symptomatic tracking data from within the facility.

-The PCF Medical Branch will be working to increase the facility’s surplus of over-the-counter cold and influenza medications.

-The PCF Support Services Branch will be working to increase the facility’s stock of personal protective equipment and environmental infection control supplies.

-PCF has suspended all contracted, off-site inmate work crew jobs.

-PCF has suspended all on-site visitation, to include all legal, personal, and religious visits. All visitors are encouraged to use the messaging, telephone, and/or video visitation features available on our GTL communication system until the on-site visits are reinstated.

Effective Monday, March 16th, and until further notice, the following operational adjustments will also be implemented at the Purgatory Correctional Facility:

-PCF will not be accepting any inmates who report to serve partial commitments (i.e weekend commitments). Due to the frequency that inmates serving partial commitments come and go from the facility, they create an unreasonable and unnecessary risk of exposure for the facility. In addition, the housing area normally reserved for these inmates will be prepped for use as an isolation/quarantine area, should one be deemed necessary.

-PCF will be substantially limiting inmate recreational opportunities to allow for the appropriate cleaning of the recreational areas between each use.

-PCF will be asking all other local law enforcement agencies to use extreme discretion when deciding whether or not a transport to PCF is necessary. We will be asking them to cite and release whenever doing so is a viable option. This will be done in an effort to avoid having to place any formal restrictions on admission to the facility, should the risk of COVID-19 virus in the facility continue to increase.

On behalf of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to thank all of our community partners in advance for their assistance in this matter. We realize that these operational adjustments will directly impact some of your day to day duties. To help assist everyone through this process, I have also attached a copy of our Disease Pandemic policy. This should provide each of you with some advance knowledge of additional precautions PCF will be taking when/if the concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus continue to escalate.

Sheriff Cory C. Pulsipher

Washington County Sheriff’s Office
Policy Manual
Volume: CY
Contingency Management
Chapter: 10
Disease Pandemic
Replaces and/or Supersedes:
Review Date:
Sheriff Cory C. Pulsipher
Chief Deputy Jake Schultz
CY 10_101 Definitions
CY 10_102 General
CY 10_103 Phase One: Precautionary
CY 10_104 Phase Two: Preventative
CY 10_103 Phase Three: Isolation
CY 10_104 Phase Four: Lockdown
1. WCSO: Washington County Sheriff’s Office
2. PCF: Purgatory Correctional Facility
3. CDC: Center for Disease Control
1. Policy:
1. The WCSO should maintain an institution-specific disease pandemic plan of action for PCF.
2. The established plan of action consists of four phases:
1. Phase One: Precautionary;
2. Phase Two: Preventative;
3. Phase Three: Isolation;
4. Phase Four: Lockdown.
3. A phase should be activated when the trigger limit for that phase has been met or exceeded by any combination of
trigger points. The trigger limits for each phase are as follows:
1. Phase One Trigger Limit: 5 points;
2. Phase Two Trigger Limit: 15 points;
3. Phase Three Trigger Limit: 30 points;
4. Phase Four Trigger Limit: 40 points.
4. Trigger points should be calculated from a list of pre-determined trigger sources and point values as follows:
1. Trigger Source
Confirmed cases of Disease Nationally         1 Point
Confirmed cases of Disease in Utah         10
Confirmed cases of Disease in Washington County         1
Confirmed cases of Disease in PCF         1
Confirmed Deaths from Disease Nationally         5
Confirmed Deaths from Disease in Utah         1
Confirmed Deaths from Disease in Washington County
Confirmed Deaths from Disease in PCF
Employee Absentee Rate Exceeds         1
World Health Organization Pandemic Alert Scale         LV-4
Cessation of Washington County School District Operations         N/A
State Recommended Restrictions         N/A
Declaration of National State of Emergency         N/A 5. Trigger sources should be closely monitored by the Corrections Chief Deputy, or designee.
2. Rationale:
1. Without prior planning and coordination, the effectiveness of emergency response efforts will be greatly
diminished. To reasonably ensure that PCF receives necessary emergency services and support, prior planning and
coordination is required.
2. Trigger sources and point values were established according to their potential impact on PCF during a disease
1. Policy:
1. Phase One is a heightened state of alertness. This phase involves an accelerated state of preparation and research
specific to the disease at hand. It includes the following proactive measures:
1. Disease Committee activation:
1. A pre-determined committee should be assembled at PCF to determine actions that should be taken
to prevent the spread of the disease among staff, inmates, volunteers, and visitors. The committee
should include an Incident Coordinator, a Secretary, the Medical Director of PCF, a Services
Coordinator, an Informational Advisor, and two Operational Coordinators. The committee should
meet as frequently as necessary to appropriately manage the facility’s disease preparations.
2. Research and communications:
1. The Informational Advisor should begin open and frequent communications with the Utah Health
Department and should begin actively monitoring the postings on the CDC website ( )
about the particular disease to see if the facility should begin preparing for possible closure or
changes in operation. The Informational Advisor should use all available resources to research the
current disease. The Informational Advisor should brief and advise Administration and the Incident
Coordinator as necessary.
3. Staff awareness:
1. The Disease Committee should ensure that education and/or training is made available to staff
to prevent the spread of the disease (e.g., hand hygiene and sneeze/cough etiquette). Staff should
be reminded of the basic readiness activities of the facility and the strategy to provide timely and
accurate responses. Staff should be provided with as much information as possible, including but
not limited to, the specific disease, the infectious period, the symptoms, the current status of events
(confirmed cases, deaths, locations), and what to do if infected.
4. Advanced admission screenings:
1. PCF medical staff will screen all individuals at the time of admission for known symptoms of the
current disease. Screening data will be documented and reviewed weekly by the Medical Director for
identification and analysis of any applicable trends. The medical staff has the authority to restrict the
housing of individuals who show symptoms of the disease. A standardized screening form should be
5. Inmate sanitation services:
1. A crew of inmate workers should be assigned to thoroughly sanitize the entire facility on a weekly
basis. They should be provided with the appropriate materials to complete their assignments.
6. Medical surplus:
1. The Medical Director should increase the on-site availability of over-the-counter cold and influenza
medications, which should be distributed appropriately to the inmate population.
7. Maintenance checks:
1. The Services Coordinator should ensure that maintenance personnel conduct an inspection to ensure
that all necessary equipment is in working order: specifically the reverse intake air systems in the
facility’s medical cells.
8. Minimum staffing:
1. During a Phase One response, PCF should adhere to it’s normal minimum staffing requirements.
1. Policy:
1. Phase Two reflects an increased risk of exposure and disease spread to PCF and it’s surrounding community. This
phase involves more preventative measures and includes the following proactive steps:
1. Communication:
1. The Informational Advisor will expand daily communications to include the Utah Department of
Corrections, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Southwest
Utah Public Health Department, and all surrounding emergency and law enforcement agencies.
2. Contingency preparation:
1. Using the expanded communications of the Informational Advisor, the Disease Committee will
begin laying the structural groundwork for possible advancement to Phases Three and Four.
3. Internal symptoms tracking:
1. Medical staff will implement a system to track illness and potential disease symptoms among staff
and the inmate population. The system will be simple and easy to maintain, but should record the
number of persons with various illnesses and symptoms (e.g. respiratory issues, diarrhea, fever) on
a daily basis. This will provide statistical information for early detection of potential disease cases
within the facility.
4. Sanitary surplus:
1. The Services Coordinator, in conjunction with the Medical Director, will drastically increase the
stock of personal protective equipment and environmental infection control supplies and make
plans to distribute to employees and inmates as needed. These supplies may include tissues, waste
receptacles, single-use disinfection wipes or alcohol-based hand cleaner. Personal protective
equipment may include gloves, surgical masks, or eye protection.
5. Inmate sanitation services:
1. Inmate sanitation crews would increase their facility-wide cleaning duties from once a week to once
every fifth day.
6. Self-screening initiative:
1. “Ask for a Mask” signs should be posted at all building entrances and common areas to encourage
members of the public and outside agencies entering the facility to screen themselves. Via signs and
staff members, persons who have a new cough or have recently traveled to a highly infected area
should be asked to wear a surgical mask or use tissues to cover their mouth and nose when coughing
and to use good hand hygiene.
7. Minimum staffing:
1. During Phase Two, PCF should adhere to it’s normal minimum staffing requirements.
1. Policy:
1. Phase Three is the highest level of alert and reflects an imminent or established exposure within PCF. This phase
involves restricted facility movement and small scale institutional exposure and medical isolation. It also includes
the following proactive measures:
1. Emergency operation center:
1. An emergency operation center (EOC) should be prepared in anticipation of a complete facility
lockdown (Phase Four). The EOC should be strategically located, stocked, and adequately equipped
to handle a Phase Four response.
2. Inmate isolation:
1. Medical isolation cells should be utilized in the booking area for infected inmates. All inmates
with confirmed exposure to the disease should be isolated from other inmates and staff, including
exclusion from all group events. Arrangements should be made to provide the isolated inmates
with basic necessities (e.g., hygiene items, meals, water). The isolation unit should be equipped
with a visible precautionary sign allowing staff who enter the unit to know what type of protective
equipment is needed. Correctional personnel should coordinate with the appropriate courts to
facilitate the release (if appropriate) of any infected inmates as an alternative to medical isolation.
3. Restricted movement:
1. There should be an immediate suspension of any non-essential programs or group activities
identified by the Disease Committee. This should include visiting, programming, inmate rehousing, and any other opportunities for unnecessary inmate cross-contamination. Inmate recreation
opportunities are likely to be substantially limited.
4. Restricted admissions:
1. Local agencies should be informed that inmate admissions will be significantly restricted. PCF
should ask that officers utilize their ability to cite and release as much as possible during this time. In
addition, the facility should not accept contract inmates from any outside agency.
5. Inmate sanitation services:
1. Inmate sanitation crews should increase their facility-wide cleaning duties from every fifth day to
every other day.
6. Communication:
1. The Informational Advisor, while continuing to monitor the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
website, should begin active communication with the CDC. All suspected and/or confirmed cases
of disease infection should be promptly reported to the Utah Health Department (UHD) and, if
available, the Medical Director will request the appropriate disease treatment for PCF’s confirmed
7. Travel restrictions:
1. All out-of-town trainings should be canceled. This with help lower the risk of employees being
exposed to the disease in another area and bringing it back to PCF. In addition, all staff should be
notified that they are on standby to assist the facility as needed, especially if the incident escalates to
a Level Four response. Transport deputies should be on standby to transport any inmates in need of
8. Minimum staffing:
1. During Phase Three, PCF will adhere to it’s normal minimum staffing requirements. However,
additional staff should be required to assist with the preparations for a potential Level Four response.
1. Policy:
1. Phase Four is a worst case scenario that would reflect a wide-spread exposure to the PCF and it’s surrounding
community. This phase involves a complete shutdown of the entire facility and includes the following actions:
1. Emergency operations center:
1. The EOC, which should have been prepared during Phase Three, should be staffed and operational.
The daily facility operations should now be coordinated from the EOC.
2. Inmate isolation:
1. Infected inmates should be relocated to the modular housing units normally reserved for work
release inmates. This will place the infected inmates outside the secure facility, but inside the secure
perimeter. Arrangements should be made to provide the isolated inmates with basic necessities (e.g.,
hygiene items, meals, water). The isolation unit should be equipped with a visible precautionary sign
allowing staff who enter the unit to know what type of protective equipment is needed.
3. Restricted admissions:
1. PCF should no longer accept unscreened inmates. An inmate staging area should be established. Any
arrestees that could not be cited and released by outside agencies should be transported to the staging
area where a preliminary booking would be completed and they would be screened by medical
personnel. When an inmate is deemed safe to admit, staff should be available to transport the inmate
to the PCF. If an inmate is deemed to be infected, they should be transported in a specifically
designated vehicle and escorted directly to the modular housing units using the outside Work Release
entrance. The staging area should be staffed with the assistance of the Patrol Division.
4. Facility movement:
1. Inmate movement within the facility should be immediately suspended. This includes inmate
workers. The operational needs of the facility (meal preparation, laundry, sanitation, etc.) should be
conducted by Sheriff’s Office staff members. This would require significant assistance from the Patrol
Division. In order to accommodate these staffing needs, all staff (detectives, court personnel, etc.)
would be called to duty. All staff on duty may be required to wear protective equipment.
5. Facility sanitation:
1. The facility sanitation crew should consist of only staff (not inmates) and should increase the facility
sanitation duties from every other day to daily.
6. Minimum staffing:
1. Given the lack of inmate movement in the facility, the minimum correctional personnel required
should decrease to five during the day and four at night. However, additional staff should be required
to perform the operational duties (e.g., laundry, sanitation, food preparation).