Outbreak of COVID-19 reported in main prison

Twelve Inmates were diagnosed with COVID-19 Wednesday in the West Residential Module of the Santa Barbara County Main Jail, where visitation has been suspended.

Another COVID-positive inmate was discovered in the east residential area of ​​the prison on Friday.

All COVID-19 positive inmates are being continuously monitored by Wellpath custody staff and medical professionals, according to the Sheriff’s Office. None of the COVID-positive inmates required hospitalization. Two inmates were reported as symptomatic and 11 as asymptomatic.

If COVID-19 positive inmates are identified, they will be moved to an area of ​​the facility that has negative pressure cells. The remainder are brought together in small groups and isolated from other inmates and monitored for symptoms by Wellpath.

Inmates with severe symptoms or underlying medical conditions are being taken to a hospital for evaluation and treatment, although none of the inmates have had to be taken to a hospital in this outbreak.

As a result of this outbreak, and after consulting with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Service, the sheriff’s office decided to suspend the visit to the main jail.

“We are also coordinating with the Santa Barbara Court and the Public Defender’s Office to adjust court appearances to minimize the spread of the virus through inmate movement,” Raquel Zick, the sheriff’s office public information officer, said in a statement press release.

The Sheriff’s Office has continually worked with our partners at Wellpath and Public Health to combat this outbreak and to create and constantly re-evaluate health security plans at Main Penitentiary.

Inmates are tested upon arrival in Sheriff’s Office custody and housed separately from the general population for the first week of their stay. They will be retested before being moved from the quarantine area to other areas of the facility.

The sheriff’s office continues to offer all three COVID-19 vaccines to all inmates, as well as an incentive program that uses funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to award newly vaccinated inmates $20 to their commission fund for a full shot, or $10 reward for a booster. In addition, Wellpath has administered more than 796 vaccinations at the main Santa Barbara jail and the Santa Maria Northern Branch jail since the pandemic began.

All employees, both professional and sworn, who work in inmate-contact positions are tested regularly and are required to wear an N95 mask while on the job, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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