Six inmates in the newly populated Northern Branch Jail in Santa Maria have tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced Thursday.
244 inmates moved into the new jail on Saturday, Jan. 22, in part to slow the spread of an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak at the Main Jail in Santa Barbara.
The transfer was completed in accordance with a Public Health Order, and the inmates and staff all tested negative for the virus ahead of time, officials say.
The following day, on Sunday, two inmates tested positive. Three more cases were confirmed on Monday, and one was confirmed on Tuesday.
All six inmates who tested positive are asymptomatic, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office said.
Officials say all transferred inmates were quarantined and have been tested daily since arriving at the Northern Branch Jail.
The six COVID-positive inmates are isolated in a separate housing area, and the sheriff's office says they are coordinating with the courts to reschedule court appearances to prevent the spread of the virus.
In the meantime, everyone who has direct inmate contact, including staff, contractors and venders, is tested regularly and is required to wear an N95 mask while at work.