The novel coronavirus has changed everyday life.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said his highest priority is to prevent the coronavirus from getting into the jail population.

“The next thing is how do we quarantine if an inmate does come in and has the virus,” Nielsen said.

He put visiting restrictions into place that include everyone except staff. Visitors are not allowed. Attorneys are not allowed. All attorney visits are by video. All personnel or anyone entering the Boone County Sheriff’s Office must have their temperature taken, including the sheriff.

Nielsen told the Boone County Commissioners that any person entering the jail or office with a temperature above 100.2 will be sent home and quarantined.

Also, Nielsen has moved work-release out of the jail to use that area for quarantine, in the event that an inmate is confirmed with coronavirus.

All deputies and employees in the department are under an out-of-country travel ban. One employee who just returned from a cruise was sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Boone County Prosecutor’s Office has given officers discretion on jailing non-violent offenders of common misdemeanors.

Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said the cases of driving while suspended, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, operating without ever receiving a license are all class A misdemeanors or lower.

“We’re just asking that (officers) use their discretion on whether to arrest the person,” Eastwood said. “Everything will be done except booking them into jail. They still get charged.”

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