San Diego, CA–A COVID-19 outbreak at George Bailey Detention Facility last month exposed about 46 inmates, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department reports.
On February 15, a man was booked into the San Diego Central Jail for charges related to driving under the influence. Per the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s COVID-19 jail protocol, he was placed in quarantine for seven days. The inmate was subsequently transferred to the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa where he was housed in dormitory housing appropriate for his classification level. Over the next few days, the inmate was transferred to different modules in the same housing unit due to behavioral issues.
On February 27, the inmate began showing flu-like symptoms and was transported to a hospital for further evaluation. The housing unit the inmate came from was placed in quarantine. It was later determined the inmate tested positive for COVID-19.
Following contact tracing, 106 inmates were tested due to potential contact with the inmate. The result of the tests found 46 positive cases and 60 negative cases. The positive cases were checked for symptoms and housed appropriately. Those moved into isolation are currently in cell-style housing units, which allow for less exposure to each other, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
In each COVID-19 positive case, the Sheriff’s Department conducts a thorough investigation to identify inmates and staff who may have been exposed. Those who test positive are isolated for a minimum of 14 days.
“If that person is in our custody, they are monitored by the Sheriff’s medical staff. Legally required release dates are not extended based on positive or pending COVID-19 test results. Those released prior to results being available are followed up with by the County Department of Public Health,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. “As our nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sheriff’s Department will evaluate any key information learned through contact investigations and adjust accordingly. Our protocols to date have been effective in limiting COVID-19 cases within our jail system.”
Existing practices at the intake facilities allow for the accommodation of symptomatic inmates at the time of booking. In response to COVID-19, The jail reduced their overall population through a combination of releases and modified booking criteria. Their jail population has been stable at nearly 4,000 inmates; however, consideration will be given to conducting additional releases if
The Sheriff’s Medical Services Division is working closely with the County Department of Public Health concerning their ongoing COVID-19 response and clinical trends in support of the contact investigations.