The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department has announced that an additional 14 incarcerated individuals and a civilian staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Santa Barbara County Jail.
After several months of mostly successful efforts to prevent COVID-19 from breaking out in the jail’s main population, the facility has seen a substantial uptick in positive cases among incarcerated individuals over the course of the last several weeks, increasing from a total of 14 positive cases among the incarcerated population on August 3 up to 39 at the time of the sheriff’s latest press release on August 22.
Thirty-nine sheriff’s staff members at the jail have also tested positive, 36 of whom have recovered.
All of this follows the death of an incarcerated individual on August 11. Eduardo Velazquez, a 38-year-old from Santa Maria, was found unresponsive in his cell and was declared dead a little over half an hour later. Velazquez had recently returned from a nearly two-week stay in the hospital, where he was battling COVID-19.
The Sheriff’s Office claims that his death was not related to COVID-19 and is conducting an investigation into the causes of his death. The Sheriff’s Office did not respond to inquiries from the Independent regarding information about the investigation into the causes of Velazquez’s death.
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