73 Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19 at Detention Facilities in San Diego County: SDSO

SDSO said they are encouraging those in custody to get vaccinated and are offering vaccines to everyone

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Multiple inmates at detention facilities in the county have tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, no visits will be allowed at county jails starting Friday, the San Diego Sheriff's Department announced.

SDSO said several people incarcerated at San Diego Central Jail (SDJC), George Bailey Detention Facility (GBDF) and the East Mesa Reentry Facility (EMRF) reported sick with flu-like symptoms. All were tested and immediately isolated.

All housing units where the inmates came from were placed in quarantine, SDSO said. Following contact tracing, 369 inmates were tested due to potential exposure. The result of the tests found 73 positive cases and 296 negative cases, SDSO reported.

Additional testing at nearby housings was done as a precaution. Many of those test results are still pending, SDSO said.

All positive cases were checked for symptoms and were all housed appropriately. SDSO said the majority of cases are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms but at least one inmate is receiving care at a local hospital.

As a result, all visits will not be allowed at county jails starting Friday, Aug. 13. Any updates regarding in-person and video visitation will be posted here.

"Based on these developments, the Detention Services Bureau has returned to a more restrictive environment. This is being done to protect the health of inmates and staff," SDSO said in a release.

SDSO said legally required release dates for inmates are not extended based on positive or pending COVID-19 test results. Those released prior to results being available are later contacted by the County Department of Public Health.

"In each COVID-19 positive case, a thorough contact investigation is conducted to identify inmates and staff who may have been exposed. Those who test positive are isolated for a minimum of 14 days. If that person is in our custody, they are monitored by Sheriff's medical staff," SDSO said.

SDSO said they are encouraging those in custody to get vaccinated and are offering vaccines to everyone. To date, SDSO medical staff has offered vaccines to 13,627 individuals. A total of 9,239 have refused and 4,388 have accepted a combination of first and second doses, SDSO said.

SDSO said they will continue the following measures in response to COVID-19:

  • Vaccines are available to all persons in custody
  • Temperature checks for everyone entering jail facilities
  • Daily temperature checks of all inmates in custody
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting
  • Education and awareness for the inmates
  • Identification and isolation of those with symptoms
  • Specific housing units are designated for isolation to separate the sick from the healthy
  • Masks for inmates and staff, as well as limiting movement at all jails
  • Emphasis on handwashing and good hygiene
  • Testing available for all inmates

No information was released on the number of inmates testing positive for each county jail and if any staff tested positive.

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