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Santa Barbara Co. Jail contract employee tests positive for COVID-19

Inmate dies in Santa Barbara County Jail
Posted at 4:15 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 19:15:30-04

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says a WellPath employee who is contracted for inmate medical services at the county jail has tested positive for COVID-19.

Sheriff's officials say the employee, who lives in Ventura County, began experiencing symptoms on Sunday, March 21, was tested for the virus and self-isolated at home. The sheriff's office was notified of the positive test result on Thursday.

Officials say the employee interacted with some inmates and staff the day before becoming symptomatic but had consistently worn protective gear, including goggles, an N95 mask, and a gown, while at work.

No other staff or inmates have shown symptoms.

This is the second case of COVID-19 related to the jail. In the first case, a civilian employee tested positive and 12 staff members were isolated as a result. Sheriff's officials say the sick employee has recovered and returned to work and none of the isolated employees have developed symptoms. They have also returned to work.

The sheriff's office says no inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

The jail has suspended in-person visitations, increased the frequency of cleaning housing and common areas, and is checking the temperature of everyone who enters the jail.