Four young people at the Santa Maria Juvenile Hall and one staff member are the latest in Santa Barbara County to test positive for COVID-19 at a congregate care facility. Previously, more than 50 cases were reported at a Santa Maria skilled nursing facility, and Santa Barbara’s County Jail now counts more than two-dozen infected staff, deputies, and inmates.

The County Probation Department, which runs Juvenile Hall, reported that 28 individuals under the age of 18 have come under their care and that newly arriving teens are quarantined for 14 days before entering the general population. Four had tested positive as of July 3, Probation Chief Tanja Heitman stated in a press release, as well as the staff member. The young people were isolated in a medical living unit for the time being. In response to the positive cases, all youth and facility staff were undergoing “expanded testing.”

Staying healthy includes wearing a face covering outside the home, washing hands frequently, and staying six feet away from others to minimize airborne transmission. Information on the disease, testing, and local conditions can be found at County Public Health’s website


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