The front of the Garfield County Community Corrections Center.

Criminal Justice Center isolating symptomatic clients

Confirmed cases include 10 clients and four staff

October 30, 2020

Confirmed cases at the Garfield County Criminal Justice Center include 10 clients and four staff as of the time of this release. In addition, four clients and one staff member are probable cases and are awaiting results of their COVID tests.

As case confirmations come from both Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) tests, as well as from private health care providers, confirmed tests vary in timing.

Several of the new cases are in clients that had been furloughed and living away from the facility for seven days or longer. Two of the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) clients that furloughed a week ago reported this morning that they have new positive tests. They are living in a group setting in Rifle with a CDOC client that had previously tested positive.

Garfield County retained a company to come in and sanitize the entire building, which was completed Wednesday. This company will continue to conduct sanitizations, while equipment is en route for internal and frequent sanitizations by staff.

Reducing the number of in-facility clients through furloughing has provided a wing in the group facility to isolate any clients that may become symptomatic in the future prior to testing.

CDPHE’s Rapid Response Team has increased the rate of testing of all clients and staff to twice a week moving forward. The next round of results is expected Monday. The team is going to retest every three days until they have one round of negatives; then will test every seven days until two negative rounds occur.

Public Health is conducting contract tracing and as new cases surface, and isolation is underway for positive cases. The quarantine for those who have been diverted from the facility, begins their last day in the facility and continues for 14 days.


CDPHE tests confirm two new COVID cases at Criminal Justice facility

Two new client cases are confirmed and no new staff cases surfaced with the results of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environments Rapid Response Team testing. The team arrived Thursday to test everyone who lives in the group facility and those who work there. In total, eight clients and three staff members have tested positive.

Test results were provided by CDPHE to county staff at midmorning today.<br><br>One of the clients in the newest case confirmations was approved for furlough Thursday after testing was complete, and arrangements for the other are being made today. The facility moved all confirmed case clients out of the facility for recovery as each confirmation was received.

“The facility had been operating at 50 percent capacity during the pandemic, and now is further reducing clients in the program to facilitate best social distancing measures,” said Criminal Justice Services Administrator Rodney Hollandsworth. “This is intended to diminish spread of COVID. We know this has been a stressful time for our clients and our staff, and we extend our concern to them during this time, as we move forward to ensure that we have a safe group living environment.”


Garfield County Criminal Justice facility quarantines

One new COVID-19 case was confirmed late Wednesday evening at the Garfield County Criminal Justice community corrections facility in Rifle. No new case notifications have come in as of this release Thursday.

Currently, there are a total of nine positive cases; three staff members and six clients. All three staff have been released to quarantine away from the facility, and all six clients have been either furloughed or transferred to parole for quarantine. Previous to last weekend, correction staff reports the facility had not been notified of any positive COVID-19 cases in clients or staff during the pandemic.

A Rapid Response Team from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) completed testing on all remaining staff and current clients at midday today. CDPHE has collected the samples to test at the state lab.

COVID cases increase at Criminal Justice facility

Eight COVID confirmed cases; CDPHE rapid response team to do more testing

October 21, 2020

Confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased to eight at the Garfield County Criminal Justice facility in Rifle. Six clients of the program and two staff members have tested positive for COVID. Tomorrow, a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) rapid response team arrives to test all clients and staff, including those who have been tested previously.

Notifications of four COVID positive cases were made by midday Tuesday, and notifications of positive test results for three additional cases were received later Tuesday and one today. Quarantine protocols are continuing.

The community corrections facility had an established cleaning structure in place before the first case of COVID-19 presented over the weekend. Cleaning protocols were strengthened when the first case presented. In March of this year, sanitizing was increased to include provision of sanitizing wipes for commonly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, in restrooms and in common areas.

As a result of the first positive test over the weekend, all cleaning supplies were provided in the common areas for both the male and female living spaces 24 hours a day. Sanitizing is done both of vehicles and surfaces in which people have routine contact.

The community corrections program is designed to prepare clients to live independently after incarceration. As a part of the program, many work outside of the facility; and all are supervised in caring for their own needs inside the facility. Frequent and routine cleaning is a part of the requirements of clients to meet the standards of preparing to live on their own after their release. Staff has increased cleaning protocols to include cleaning after every single use of the restrooms, and as always after any use of the common areas. Consistent mask wearing is place by staff and encouraged for clients. The facility was quarantined upon notice of the first positive case.

Garfield County Public Health staff began working on contact investigations in the correctional facility over the weekend. During that time, there was one confirmed case. The department was awaiting test results early this week to identify and determine whether or not there was a COVID outbreak in the facility, which is determined to be two or more cases. Public Health is working with the facility to conduct contact tracing; and has brought in CDPHE to do everything possible to protect the clients and staff of the facility.

Once cases were confirmed by positive tests, each was isolated. Daily monitoring of temperatures has been done for months. Some clients have reached out to their health care providers to request testing. For the clients whose health care providers have requested tests or upon notification of symptoms consistent with COVID-19, community corrections staff has facilitated the accommodation of testing in every case.

No transfers of clients have occurred recently, reducing the risk of transfer of the illness to or from other facilities.

Operations regarding receipt of mail or packages for clients has not changed; clients can still receive care packages that meet the normal security standards for incoming packages or mail. However, they are not able to receive visitors, and their places of employment have been notified they will not be working while on quarantine.

Garfield County Criminal Justice and the Colorado Department of Corrections determined today that community corrections clients will not be charged rent while the facility is in quarantine, as community corrections clients are not able to report to work.

Garfield County Criminal Justice facility quarantines

October 20, 2020

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Residents of the Garfield County Criminal Justice program located in Rifle, CO are in a 14-day quarantine period following two residents and two staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

Garfield County Criminal Justice operates a community corrections program that provides alternative sentencing options for non-violent offenders. The program provides residents with the opportunity to, while under supervision, establish for themselves a foundation that will allow them to return to society better prepared to abstain from substance use and criminal activity. The program provides clients with employment opportunities outside the facility as part of the rehabilitation program.

Of the two clients that tested positive, one had not been outside of the corrections facility prior to testing positive. The other individual had been to their place of employment seven days prior to testing positive. The employer has been notified of potential exposure. Both clients have been put on medical furlough and are isolating under supervision, at home in their respective probation districts. All other current residents in the Rifle community corrections facility have been in quarantine at the facility since October 17. Two staff members tested positive and are isolating at home. The facility is staffed 24-hours per day and employees are considered critical first responders. Community corrections staff personnel have been working with Garfield County Public Health and following exposure protocol, taking temperatures, and conducting symptoms checks multiple times per day.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s rapid response team, a team that works to contain outbreaks in congregate living settings, will work to test all clients and staff of the facility.

Isolation is a period of separation for sick people lasting 10 days, while quarantine restricts the movement of people who have been exposed for 14 days.

No additional staff have tested positive or are displaying COVID-19 symptoms at this time.

The facility has been operating under additional protective guidance due to COVID. “When COVID became a critical issue in April, we reduced the population in the facility to make it safer for staff and residents,” said Garfield County Community Corrections Security Supervisor, Travis Horton.

“Staff has been implementing strict social distancing, using masks, and is taking heightened sanitation measures in collaboration with the health department,” Horton added. “The residents are in a group living environment and it does mean that everyone has some risk of exposure, so we are taking precautions, including symptom monitoring very seriously, in addition to the quarantine. Once everyone is outside of the quarantine and isolation period, we will resume our program’s goal of giving people the opportunity to re-engage in the community in a positive manner.”