Jails change visitor policies amid Covid surge


BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – More people in Louisiana are catching COVID-19 amid a fourth surge in the virus.

Parish jails are doing more now to keep it out.

“I understand that family and friends want to be able to see their loved ones and right now we just want to push that issue that we’re just trying to stay safe and keep everyone healthy and so we need to take those necessary precautions, so have patience with us,” Allison Hudson, public information officer with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

At the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail, only attorneys are allowed to visit their clients and they can only do so through a glass barrier.

Hudson said they’re keeping those inmates who do catch COVID isolated.

“We do have to confine them to a space that no other inmates will get contact with them and then obviously we’re following the CDC guidelines so we’re cleaning the areas and doing everything that we need to do,” Hudson said.

Out of 377 inmates at the Ascension Parish Jail, 14 had COVID on Tuesday, July 27.

In West Baton Rouge Parish, there are 301 inmates in their jail, but right now, none of them have tested positive for the virus. Major Zack Simmers said that’s because of the precautions they’ve had in place since the start of the pandemic.

“The process we’ve taken, the masks, the hand sanitizer, the social distancing, we’re not allowing them any contact with the outside world,” Simmers said.

While they have had some cases in the past, West Baton Rouge Parish Jail is now keeping inmates isolated in the parish, instead of transferring them to Angola.

“This is still an ongoing pandemic, still we’re asking people to social distance, people if they have any signs or symptoms to go get checked or to quarantine,” Simmers said.

Visitors can still come to the West Baton Rouge Parish jail, but only see inmates through video kiosks.

In East Baton Rouge Parish, there are 16 inmates with Covid, out of almost 950 total inmates.

A spokesperson there said they are following all guidelines set by the Department of Corrections and only attorneys are allowed to visit their clients.

In Livingston Parish, 12 out of 515 inmates have tested positive.

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