Guidance for Managing
COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities)
Key recommendations include:
- The facility must conduct COVID-19 diagnostic testing for incarcerated/detained persons, which may include those with and
- The facility must report all confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and deaths to LAC DPH immediately by email at email@example.com.
- The facility will comply with state and local guidelines for interfacility transfers.
LAC DPH COVID-19 website frequently for updated information on
COVID-19 testing, infection control, FAQs, and guidance for facilities.
General steps correctional/detention
facilities should take to reduce the spread of
COVID-19 for incarcerated/detained persons
Guidance for Managing COVID-19 in Correctional and
Key recommendations include:
- The facility should conduct
COVID-19 diagnostic PCR testing for
incarcerated/detained persons, which
may include those with and without
for all new entrants
in order to identify
with symptoms under
take place in an
outdoor space prior
to entry, in the
sally port, or at
the point of entry
into the facility
beginning the intake
persons and house
while waiting for
test results. For
persons who are not
testing can be
combined with a
persons are assigned
housing with the
rest of the
population. In this
those with confirmed
- If incarcerated/detained person
has symptoms of COVID-19:
- Place the
individual under medical
test for SARS-CoV-2,
- All symptomatic
persons should be
- Require the
individual to wear a
Anyone who has
or is unconscious,
otherwise unable to
remove the mask
should not wear a
- Ensure that the
staff who have
direct contact with
- If an individual is an
asymptomatic close contact of
someone with COVID-19:
- Quarantine the
monitor for symptoms
at least once per
day for 14 days.
persons who are
fully vaccinated and
do not have symptoms
of COVID-19 do not
need to quarantine
at intake, after
to suspected or
- The facility
must report all
cases and deaths to
LAC DPH immediately
by email at
- The facility
will comply with
state and local
*Regardless of symptoms incarcerated/detained
persons who are fully vaccinated should continue to
be tested for SARS-CoV-2 following exposure to
suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or if they develop
any symptoms of COVID-19.
General steps staff should take to reduce
spread of COVID-19 in the facility:
employees with confirmed COVID-19
and any ill employees with symptoms
suggestive of respiratory illness to
self-isolate at home.
Employer, or site
coordinator, should recommend
testing for all symptomatic
employees even if they have been
fully vaccinated (at least 2 weeks
have passed since the final dose of
their vaccine series). They
can be referred to their primary
care provider or 2-1-1 to access
county or city testing resources.
Testing is not generally available
at Public Health Laboratory for
congregate settings that are
non-residential or non-healthcare.
If the employee
came to the site while ill, they
should be separated from others with
door closed, masked, and directed to
go home right away.
the employee was first symptomatic
and when they were tested.
days or shifts the case was on site.
If ill person has
severe symptoms, call 9-1-1. Notify
EMS and the receiving healthcare
facility of possible exposures.
alternative work options like
teleworking if employee is well
enough to do so.
case to notify all other employers
of their illness in order to
initiate contact investigations or
other necessary infection control
suspected and confirmed cases,
regardless of prior testing or
vaccination status, on the Case Line
List in the COVID-19 Line List.
Even if COVID-19
testing is negative for a
symptomatic employee, utilize the
symptom-based clearance strategy in
bullet 1 for return to work.
General and Administrative Considerations during
- Identify a mechanism for your facility to obtain SARS CoV-2 samples and to send these specimens from your facility to a lab.
- Review and follow the CDC’s
Correctional and Detention Facilities and use
CDC guidance on conservation of
personal protective equipment (PPE). Develop a surge plan for emerging infectious diseases, particularly suspected or confirmed
- Plan for ways to continue essential services if on-site operations are reduced temporarily.
- Plan for employee absences and create a back-up/on-call system.
- Discontinue group activities, field trips, and communal dining.
- All meals are to be served within individual rooms unless it is unsafe for incarcerated/detained persons to eat
- Staff may eat together in staff break rooms or a separate designated area, but physical distancing of six feet or more between
persons must be enforced at all times while eating.
- Immediately implement symptom screening for all staff, incarcerated/detained persons, and visitors—including temperature checks.
Incarcerated/detained persons should have their temperature taken every 12 hours if it is a medical facility. If there are no
medical staff at the facility, incarcerated/detained persons should self-monitor their temperature every 12 hours.
- Every individual, regardless of reason, entering the correctional facility (including incarcerated/detained persons,
staff, visitors, outside healthcare workers, vendors, etc.) should be asked about COVID-19 symptoms and they must also have their
temperature checked. An exception to this is Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers responding to an urgent medical need. They do
not have to be screened, as they are typically screened separately.
- Records are to be kept of staff and incarcerated/detained persons temperature checks.
- Facilities should limit access points and ensure that all accessible entrances have a screening station.
- Anyone with a fever (100.0° F or 37.8° C) or symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat, cough, sneezing, shortness of breath,
gastrointestinal symptoms, or not feeling well) may not be admitted entry.
- Prohibit visitors from entering the facility unless compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life.
- Those with symptoms of a respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat) should not be
permitted to enter the facility at any time (even in end-of-life situations).
- Post signs explaining visitor restrictions.
- Set-up alternative methods of visitation such as through videoconferencing through skype or FaceTime
- Those visitors that are permitted must follow
DPH visitation guidance
- Restrict all volunteers and non-essential staff.
- All facility personnel should wear a surgical mask or non-medical face covering while they are in the facility.
- Staff must wear either an N95
respirator (if not fully vaccinated) or a surgical mask
(if fully vaccinated) when in patient care areas.
- Masks and respirators are not required for staff working alone in closed areas unless they are moving through common spaces
where they may interact with other staff or incarcerated/detained persons.
- All staff should follow physical distancing and hand hygiene guidance.
- All incarcerated/detained persons must wear a face mask when outside their room. This includes persons who must
regularly leave the facility for care (e.g. hemodialysis patients). Surgical masks are required for any resident that is
COVID-19-positive or assumed to be COVID-19-positive.
- The facility is required to
provide each resident with a clean non-medical face
covering and replace them if damaged.
- Provide education and job-specific training to staff regarding COVID-19, including:
- Signs and symptoms
- Modes of transmission of infection
- Correct infection control practices and personnel protective equipment (PPE) use
- Staff sick leave policies and recommended actions for unprotected exposures (e.g., not using recommended PPE, an unrecognized
infectious patient contact)
- How and to whom COVID-19 cases should be reported
- Establish a COVID-19 area within the facility:
that separate physical locations (dedicated housing
areas and bathrooms) have been identified to 1) isolate
individuals with confirmed COVID-19 (individually or
cohorted), 2) isolate individuals with suspected
COVID-19 (individually – do not cohort), and 3)
quarantine close contacts of those with confirmed or
suspected COVID-19 (ideally individually; cohorted if
necessary). The plan should include contingencies for
multiple locations if numerous infected individuals
and/or close contacts are identified and require medical
isolation or quarantine simultaneously.
- The COVID-19 area is for persons
who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The area must
be physically separated from the area for those who do
not have COVID-19.
- All staff, equipment and common
areas should be kept separate as much as possible.
- Designate HCP who will be
responsible for caring for suspected or known COVID-19
incarcerated/detained persons. Ensure they are trained
on the infection prevention and control recommendations
for COVID-19 and the proper use of PPE.
- All staff should follow physical
distancing and perform frequent hand hygiene.
- If staffing scarcity requires staff
to work with COVID-19 positive and negative
incarcerated/detained persons, staff should be careful to
change required PPE between patients, though N95 and face
shields may be worn throughout the day consistent with CDC
PPE conservation contingency strategies, have
employees work at only one facility in order to reduce
interfacility spread of COVID-19.
- Offer COVID-19 vaccination and
routine immunizations: Continue to encourage COVID-19
vaccination for those who have not yet received it, as well
as routine immunizations as needed.