The Sheriff’s Office has identified additional COVID-19 positive inmates in the Main Jail as we continue to monitor a recent outbreak. On Saturday, September 18, 2021, Wellpath PCR tested inmates from the West Module that had exposure to another COVID-19 positive inmate, but originally tested negative. Those tests results came in this morning, with 13 additional inmates testing positive for COVID-19.
Today, Wellpath also completed day five antigen testing of those inmates that continue to test negative. Five of those antigen tests came back positive. There are currently 66 COVID-19 positive inmates in the Main Jail. This brings the total number of COVID-19 positive inmates from this outbreak to 83, with 17 having recovered. Since August, 2021, there have been 5 custody staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 2 having recovered.
In consultation with Santa Barbara County Public Health, the Sheriff’s Office continues to take proactive measures in the Main Jail to safeguard the health of our inmates and staff. Inmates are tested when they arrive in our custody and are housed separately from the general population during the initial 14 days of their stay. They are tested again before they are moved out of the quarantine area into other areas of the facility. During their stay, inmates are tested whenever they exhibit symptoms and whenever they might have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. The Sheriff’s Office offers the COVID-19 vaccine to inmates in our care, and 35% of the current inmate population is fully vaccinated. Wellpath has administered 493 vaccinations since the beginning of the pandemic.
As we identify COVID-19 positive inmates, they are moved into an area of the facility that has negative pressure cells. In the case of an outbreak, only those with active symptoms are moved. The remainder are placed together in small groups (cohorts) and isolated from other inmates. We also separate those who were exposed but have not tested positive. Inmates with severe symptoms or who have underlying health conditions are transported to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.
The Sheriff’s Office has worked on a continual basis with our Wellpath and Public Health partners to address this outbreak as well as to establish and constantly re-evaluate plans for health safety within the Main Jail. 62% of all custody staff have been vaccinated and all staff, regardless of vaccination status, are being tested daily per the recommendation of Public Health.