On October 16, the Santa Barbara County Probation Department released a press statement that a staff member at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall has tested positive for COVID-19. The department claims that the employee called in sick before a scheduled shift and was subsequently tested for COVID-19 by their personal physician and found positive. The statement does not disclose whether other staff or incarcerated individuals at the facility were potentially exposed, and states that “additional youth and staff are being tested as part of contact tracing requirements.” According to the statement, no youth have tested positive, and the department is awaiting results for staff members.
This is the third staff member at the facility to test positive for COVID-19. In July, two staff members and four youth tested positive. In September, another minor tested positive during the intake process.