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12 Sheriff office employees under self-isolation following exposure to positive COVID-19 patient

Posted at 10:04 PM, Mar 17, 2020

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that 12 of their employees are under self-isolation in their home following exposure to a person who later tested positive for COVID-19.

The Sheriff's office says the incident occurred on Thursday, March 12. They say a civilian Sheriff's employee who works in a Jail control room and had recently traveled to Europe, became ill at work. This employee, who is a resident of San Luis Obispo County, sought medical attention and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. That patient was instructed to self isolate at home by the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.

Twelve of the employees' coworkers who had been in close proximity to the employee, were evaluated by medical staff and determined by Santa Barbara County Public Health authorities to require self-isolation. All of them were asymptomatic and were sent home to self-isolate.

In another unrelated incident an attorney, also a resident of San Luis Obispo County, became ill after working in a Santa Maria courtroom last Thursday and later tested positive for COVID-19. In an abundance of caution, his inmate client and another inmate who shared housing with him at the Santa Barbara County Jail were both re-housed into a negative-pressure location. Their initial housing area was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Both inmates were and remain asymptomatic; they continue to be monitored by Jail medical staff. Santa Barbara County Public Health authorities were notified of this incident as well. Those who had been present in the courtroom that day, including a Sheriff's Deputy bailiff, were asymptomatic. They were instructed by the Court to seek their own medical evaluation. The Sheriff's Deputy bailiff did this and was instructed to self-isolate.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has been diligently monitoring and adhering to local, state, and federal guidance surrounding COVID-19, and is prepared to take appropriate actions to keep our inmate population, staff, and the public safe.

The Sheriff's Coroner's Bureau has informed deputies on the protocol for response to any suspected COVID-19 deaths.

All inmate housing areas are being regularly cleaned, and inmates have been instructed on cleaning and disinfecting their housing areas.