TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is temporarily suspending jail visitation due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The order is effective immediately and will be in place for the next 30 days. This decision was made along with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

If the situation has not improved in 30 days, an extension may be necessary to help reduce COVID exposure.

According to the sheriff’s office, they have seen a sharp increase in inmate and staff COVID cases. This decision was made “in an effort to safeguard the inmate population, jail personnel and the citizens of Smith County.”

Video and telephone calls will still be available by inmates, at cost, using Smith County Jail equipment.

Back on Dec. 30, the Polk County Jail also announced that it would suspect in-person inmate visitation due to COVID-19 cases.