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Sheriff Birkhead Announces Durham County Sheriff’s Office Response to Coronavirus Health Concerns

Post Date:03/14/2020 9:11 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Sheriff Birkhead Announces Durham County Sheriff’s Office
Response to Coronavirus Health Concerns


Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead announced the following updates due to health concerns caused by the recent outbreak of COVID-19.

“We remain in constant communication with our fellow law enforcement partners on the federal, state and local level to address this current challenge,” Sheriff Birkhead said. “Because our office is the maintainer of the Durham County Detention Center - where we currently house 369 inmates - as well as being responsible for providing security at the Durham County Courthouse downtown, we announce the following public safety measures”:

Durham County Detention Center
Starting Monday, March 16, 2020:

  • All first appearance hearings will be conducted by video conference.
  • Attorneys and bonding agents will utilize video kiosks in the magistrate area to confer with clients.
  • There will be a suspension of all in-person and video visitation. All visitation will be conducted remotely. Information on how to use remote visitation will be posted on our website: www.durhamsheriff.com.
  • All persons arrested will continue to undergo a medical screening as they enter the Detention Center by medical personnel. Medical staff will conduct additional screenings for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including being asked specific questions about recent travel, exposure to a diagnosed case, and attendance at public gatherings.
  • Arrestees entering the facility with no signs or systems will remain in the classification area for an additional 24 hours prior to being assigned to a pod.
  • Once an individual is assigned to a pod, they will be screened again by medical personnel.
  • Signage will be placed throughout the Detention Center with information for detainees regarding COVID-19’s signs and symptoms. Officers will monitor detainee’s health and notify medical personal should suspected symptoms develop.
  • All classification, medical, and mental health interviews conducted by staff will be completed outside the cell door to create a barrier during the interview. All pre-trial interviews will be conducted in the same manner.
  • All non-essential civilians will not be permitted to enter the secure portion of the facility.

Durham County Justice Center

  • The building, located at 510 South Dillard Street, will remain open.
  • DCSO Courthouse Security will have screening tools to utilize if necessary.
  • All other preventive medical and regular security measures will be followed.
  • At the present time, normal business hours will not be affected to handle records, fingerprinting, and gun permits.

Sheriff Birkhead concluded, “All of these measures are necessary because both the Detention Center and Courthouse are heavily trafficked areas by the general public. We remind the public to contact the COVID-19 hotline if there are questions or concerns: 1-866-462-3821.”

For the latest updates regarding District and Superior Courts in Durham County, please access www.nccourts.org.

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