Santa Barbara County Main Jail | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Inmates at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail continue to test positive following an outbreak of COVID-19 in August, with 66 positive cases as of Monday, bringing the total number of cases among inmates to 83, though 17 have recovered. 

During the initial outbreak in August, 11 inmates, one staff member, and four custodial staff tested positive. Since then, two of the five staff members who tested positive have recovered. Per protocol, all inmates who initially tested positive were put into quarantine for 14 days. Custodial staff were also directed by the Santa Barbara County Public Health officer to partake in daily antigen testing for three consecutive days starting Saturday.  

On September 17, Wellpath, a medical group that provides care to patients in challenging clinical environments, began PCR and antigen testing inmates following the outbreak to monitor the spread. Wellpath has also administered about 493 vaccinations, according to Raquel Zick, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Of the current inmate population, 35 percent are now fully vaccinated. Of the staff, 62 percent have been vaccinated, and all staff, regardless of vaccination status, are being tested daily.

Incoming inmates will be tested when they arrive and housed separately from the general population for their first 14 days. Inmates are tested again at the end of the 14-day quarantine and are also tested if they exhibit any symptoms or if they have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive. 

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