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Kansas Department of Corrections suspends in-person visits due to COVID-fueled staff shortages

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 17:32:15-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas Department of Corrections has temporarily suspended in-person visits to its facilities due to COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

"While this has been exceptionally challenging, facility operations are now even more difficult due to increasing numbers of our employees who are unable to report to work due COVID-19 related illnesses," Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda wrote in a letter Friday to residents and staff. "And this is occurring concurrently with greater numbers of residents who are confirmed to have COVID-19."

As of Jan. 6, there were 117 staff cases of COVID-19 across all correctional facilities under KS DOC. There were 78 reported cases in residents.

The break-down by facility of those numbers can be found here.

"As we need to make every effort to mitigate further spread of the COVD-19 virus, and as our staffing levels are critical, we must take the step of again suspending in-person visitation at all juvenile and adult correctional facilities," the letter said. "This change will take effect on Friday, January 14, 2022."

The department gave no time frame for when visits would be allowed.

"Like the prior suspension, we view this as a temporary solution. And due to the nature of the virus and this pandemic, I am unable to offer you any accurate forecast as to how long this suspension will need to remain in effect," Zmuda wrote. "However, we remain committed to providing periodic updates to our residents and families as circumstances change or new information is available."