Update: Outbreak at Main Jail Results in 20 Confirmed Positive COVID Inmates

Initial Outbreak in Male Dormitory Had Five Positive Cases, with 15 More Confirmed This Week

A view of the entrance to Santa Barbara's South County Jail. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

UPDATE 12/14 6 P.M.: Three additional inmates were confirmed as being COVID positive on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 20.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Santa Barbara County Jail has confirmed 12 additional COVID positive inmates Monday, following an outbreak on December 9 of five positive inmates, bringing the total number up to 17 confirmed cases. 

Custody staff at the jail identified the first COVID positive inmate in a male basement dormitory, where he and 51 other inmates were being housed. After the initial positive inmate was re-housed, four other inmates from the housing dormitory tested positive. None of the COVID positive inmates in this outbreak have required hospitalization. 

Prior to testing positive, the initial positive inmate in this outbreak was transported to an in-person court appearance, where he had contact with other inmates from various parts of the facility during those court appearances. “Custody staff are working with our Wellpath healthcare partners in efforts to test much of the inmate population,” said Raquel Zick, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, in a press release. 

The department is coordinating with the Santa Barbara Court and the Public Defender’s Office to adjust court appearances to minimize the spread of the virus through the movement of inmates. All staff who work in positions that have direct inmate contact are regularly tested and are required to wear an N95 mask while working. 


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