SLO Co. Sheriff's Office employee tests positive for COVID-19

The employee works inside the jail
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 20:46:19-04

A San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office employee who works inside the jail has tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced Friday.

It's the first confirmed case among staff or inmates at the San Luis Obispo jail.

The sheriff's office says the employee was on vacation and returned to work on July 6. They reportedly developed symptoms while on shift.

The employee was sent home immediately, according to the sheriff's office, which says all staff who were in contact with the employee have been notified and affected areas of the jail placed on quarantine.

"Incarcerated populations are very high risk for contracting COVID-19 because of the close living quarters," said Dr. Christy Mulkerin, chief medical officer for the sheriff's office. "That's why the Sheriff's Office has been proactive in practicing infection control measures since March to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Jail."

The sheriff's office says it appears the infection originated from community spread and not inside the main jail.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department has launched a contact investigation.

Jail staff are screened daily at the start of their shift for any COVID-19-like symptoms and are required to use masks and gloves when interacting with any inmates.

The sheriff's office says new inmates are required to quarantine for 14 days and routine COVID-19 testing is done on all inmates and staff.

Facility-wide cleanings are now happening multiple times a day and in-person visitation has also been limited, according to the sheriff's office.

As of Friday, there were 905 confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County.