St. Charles County initiated several projects in 2020 to improve customer service and safety of the public and employees in the wake of COVID-19. All projects were paid for through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
Modifications to the first floor of the County’s Administration Building at 201 North Second Street in St. Charles, were complete in November 2020. Improvements replace many temporary measures installed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and fulfill critical needs for departments to continue to serve the public safely and efficiently. The finished project includes:
- Four new service windows available to departments to conduct face-to-face business with the public, including Human Resources, Recorder of Deeds, Finance, Community Development and the Sheriff’s Department.
- A consultation desk for departments to display documents and assist customers.
- A testing room for employment applicants and homeowners who wish to do their own electrical/plumbing projects.
- Modifications at the Assessor and Collector of Revenue service windows to minimize airflow exchange between the public and employees.
- Renovated public restrooms to provide a touch-free environment.
Improvements at the St. Charles County Justice Center (County Jail) were complete by the end of 2020 and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility and provide a safer, more secure and sanitary environment for officers, staff and inmates. The renovations and additions include:
- A larger and more secure booking area that provides health protection during the booking process and allows for proper social distancing between arrestees and police officers/Corrections staff.
- Negative air pressure arrest cells to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne viruses.
- Designated housing units with negative pressure for newly arrested inmates to spend their first 14 days so they do not infect the general inmate population.
- New cell doors with openings to allow officers to pass food trays, medications or handcuff an inmate without direct interaction.
- A skybridge across Second Street to provide a safe, direct link from the jail to the 11th Judicial Circuit Courts building for inmate transportation.
Department of Public Health
Construction was completed in December 2020 and includes:
- More exam space, including two exam rooms designed with negative air pressure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
- A large waiting room to allow for proper social distancing.
- New service windows at Patient Check-In, Vital Records and Passports to minimize direct contact between the public and staff.
- Expanded Women, Infants and Children (WIC) consultation areas designed with barriers to minimize direct contact while allowing privacy.
- An expanded lab to provide COVID-19 rapid tests and testing for other diseases.
- More workspace for staff to handle increased need for services.
- Primary services on one floor instead of through multiple spaces in the building.
- An improved public entrance.
Photo courtesy of JEMA