Santa Barbara, Calif. – Yesterday, March 26, 2020, a Santa Barbara County Jail contract employee who had been tested for COVID-19 was notified the test was positive. The WellPath employee was assigned to the Jail through the Sheriff’s Office contract for inmate medical services.
On Saturday, March 21, 2020 the employee, who is a resident of Ventura County, began experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, was tested for the virus and began self-isolation at home. The employee had interacted with some inmates and staff the day before becoming symptomatic, but had been consistently wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) including goggles, an N95 mask and a gown while at work. The potential risk to others in the facility was evaluated and no additional staff or inmates were found to be symptomatic or suggested for self-isolation protocol. The Sheriff’s Office was notified on Thursday, March 26, 2020 that the test had returned positive.
This is the second COVID-19 related incident at the Jail, with the first incident resulting in one civilian employee testing positive and 12 staff being isolated. We are relieved to report that this employee has recovered after experiencing mild symptoms and has returned to work after being cleared by Public Health Officials. None of the self-isolated employees developed symptoms, and all of them were cleared to return to work. No inmates have tested positive nor are any in isolation related to COVID-19.
The Jail is continuing the stringent precautionary measures set in place at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the suspension of in-person visitations, increased frequency of cleaning of housing and common areas, screening of inmates prior to intake and providing COVID-19 related education about cleanliness for both inmates and staff. Cleaning supplies, soap, and PPE are readily available and sufficiently back stocked. Everyone who enters the Jail must have their temperature checked prior to entry, and anyone with a reading of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be denied entry.
We are continuing to work closely with our WellPath and Public Health Department partners in implementing federal, state and local guidance to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our facility and in our community.