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Five Additional Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19 at Northern Branch Jail

Sheriff’s Office Custody staff and their Wellpath healthcare partners have identified five additional inmates in the Northern Branch Jail (NBJ) who have tested positive for COVID-19. There are now 11 active COVID case at the NBJ, and all are asymptomatic.

The Northern Branch Jail was recently populated with 244 inmates who were transferred from the Main Jail. Prior to the transfer, all the inmates – and all transporting and receiving staff – tested negative for COVID-19. The transfer was conducted after consultation with the Public Health Department and in accordance with a Public Health Order. All the transferred inmates were quarantined and tested daily since their arrival. It was during this surveillance testing that the COVID-19 positive inmates were identified.

Custody staff are working with our Wellpath healthcare partners to monitor and care for the 11 inmates who tested positive. They have been rehoused and isolated in a separate housing area. The Sheriff’s Office is also coordinating with the Santa Barbara Court and the Public Defender’s Office to adjust court appearances to prevent the spread of the virus through the movement of inmates. In addition, all staff, contractors, vendors, and others who work in positions having direct inmate contact are regularly tested and required to wear an N95 mask while working.

The Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide regular updates on the status of COVID-19 in the Santa Barbara County jails.

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