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Tippecanoe County Community Corrections trying to stay safe amid one participant with COVID-19

A participant at Tippecanoe County Community Corrections is speaking out about unsafe conditions.

Posted: May 11, 2020 11:15 PM
Updated: May 11, 2020 11:21 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- A participant at Tippecanoe County Community Corrections is speaking out about unsafe conditions.

Jason Clugh is a part of the work release program. He said he does not believe the facility is operating under proper working conditions.

He said he along with many others feel left in the dark about what is going on inside the building.

The executive director of Tippecanoe County Community Corrections, Jason Huber, said everyone was tested for COVID-19 last Thursday after one participant tested positive.

Clugh said participants do not have results and are not given adequate cleaning supplies.

He added he understands the protocol, but said it is not good enough.

"We can't social distance ourselves," said Clugh. "The most I can get away from somebody, if I set myself in a corner, I can maybe get four to eight feet if I try really hard, but I have to touch the same machines same phone and same tables."

Clugh said participants were told test results would take 24-36 hours.

We reached out to Jason Huber for a comment and he told us comment corrections has implemented several protocols with safety at the forefront.

He provided News 18 with this statement:

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 health emergency Tippecanoe County Community Corrections has implemented several protocols with the safety and health of staff and participants at the forefront. Those protocols were created with guidance from state and local elected officials, and federal, state and local health officials who we continue to have almost daily contact with as we navigate these uncharted waters. For example; we reduced our work release population to minimize the potential for mass exposure within our facility, we have increased the number of cleaning and disinfecting times within the facility, we have implemented new personal hygiene measures within the work release facility, required PPE for staff, and we have offered masks to work release participants that have requested them. While we are understanding the protocols that have been implemented may cause an inconvenience for our participants and staff, they are necessary steps to keep our staff, our participants and our community as safe as possible.

On May 3, 2020 we were notified a work release participant had tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately implemented our emergency protocols for such an event. Again, those protocols were made with guidance from state and local health officials. Our work release facility was immediately placed on lockdown and the infected participant was isolated and arrangements were made with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) for their Strike Team to come test participants and staff. While waiting for coordination from the Strike Team as many accommodations were made for participants during this time. On May 7, 2020 the Strike Team conducted testing at our facility of all work release participants. On May 11, 2020 we received notification from ISDH all work release participants tested negative for COVID-19. We are confident the measures we immediately implemented proved to be successful in reducing the potential exposure to work release participants.

Like many entities, both private and public, there are several measures we all must take to ensure the safety and health of everyone within our community. Some of those measures are sure to be uncomfortable, create disruptions in our daily lives, and alter the way business is conducted. As was mentioned before, the safety and health of all staff and participants with Tippecanoe County Community Corrections will remain our number one priority.

We will continue to follow this story closely.

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