The Nueces Co. Sheriff’s Department is using newer forms of technology, such as UV decontamination, to clean and disinfect inside jails.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Sheriff J.C. Hooper said the jail is doing what it can to help prevent the spread of germs.
"This COVID-19 is just another animal and we need to up our (cleaning) game,” he said. “We're just looking to use another element to help keep the entire jail environment safe and clean.”
KRIS 6 News went to the McKinzie Annex jail, where cleaning crews were disinfecting on Tuesday evening, to see how it works. The cleaning equipment kills germs in all the hard-to-reach areas.
A group of four cleaners dress in protective gear -- such as white suits, boots, gloves, eyewear and face shields -- and clean all areas first. Then, they place three or four UVC lights and fans in common areas such as hallways, visitor’s areas or classrooms.
"A classroom is one of those transitional areas inside our jail where people come and go,” Hooper said. “And so this (classroom) would be a high-risk environment here inside our jails."
"The fans circulate the invisible contaminants,” he said. “They keep the air moving to create more of a target-rich environment for those those UV lights."
It takes about 20 minutes to disinfect a large room. Hooper said the technology also is used in hospitals. It can kill germs that cause colds and the flu, and other things such as E.coli and mold.
"This is just a different time, I mean this this COVID is, is highly infectious,” he said. “And we should take advantage of this technology. Moving forward this could be something we to do once or twice a year, whether there's a a pandemic going on or not.”
To also help stop the spread of germs, Hooper said inmates have limited activity in the jail’s classroom, and instructor visits to the jail. Fewer lawyers visit while the jail has transitioned most legal counseling to video conference.
The main jail on Leapard Street also was disinfected using UV light decontamination.