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First COVID-19 cases reported in inmate population at San Luis Obispo County Jail

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Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-19 01:46:41-04

Two inmates at the San Luis Obispo County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19, officials say.

In a press release, sheriff officials said one inmate was found to have a fever and body aches on Thursday, July 16th and was immediately isolated in the jail's medical unit.

The inmate tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and the Sheriff's Office conducted a contract tracing investigation to see who else may have been exposed and forwarded the findings to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.

On Saturday, a second inmate reported a sore throat and was isolated, officials said.

The second inmate was tested on Saturday and received positive results the same day.

According to the Sheriff's Office, another contract tracing investigation was conducted.

These are the first cases among the inmate population there, officials said.

“Ensuring the health and safety of our inmates is a top priority,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson. “We have instituted a number of measures to not only keep our inmates safe but everyone who works in the Jail.”

Sheriff's officials said the two inmates that tested positive for the novel virus are in good condition and other inmates who were potentially exposed are in quarantine units and checked daily for fever and respiratory symptoms.

A majority of jails across California have been dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks for months, however, the San Luis Obispo County Jail has not seen cases among inmates until this month.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office credits its COVID-19 prevention plan for helping keep the virus out of the jail.

“This is a high-risk population, in a high-risk setting,” said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christy Mulkerin. “We have worked hard to keep COVID out of the jail by following CDC and County Public Health guidelines because we want to keep staff, Jail patients, and the community safe.”

The jail's COVID-19 prevention plan includes the following actions:

  • screening all arrestees for fever and COVID symptoms by a nurse before entering the Jail
  • quarantining all new arrestees for 14 days
  • isolating anyone with symptoms in the medical unit
  • testing for COVID-19
  • screening staff for illness prior to starting work
  • providing masks for inmates
  • implementing video court to decrease community exposure
  • intensifying cleaning
  • suspending in-person visiting

A San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office employee who works inside the jail tested positive for COVID-19 on July 10th.

It was the first confirmed case among staff or inmates at the San Luis Obispo County Jail.