SAN DIEGO–The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is amplifying its COVID-19 protocols to protect inmates and staff. Additional measures are now being implemented to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Earlier this week, inmates at the South Bay Detention Facility began showing flu-like symptoms.
Their housing units were quarantined to restrict their movement and monitor their condition. The inmates tested positive for COVID-19 triggering additional testing of other housing units and the addition of sneeze shields to protect the staff. In total, 54 inmates tested positive for COVID-19. A majority of these inmates were asymptomatic. They were all transferred to isolation units within the system. The isolation separates the inmates with COVID-19 from inmates who are not sick. The affected inmates are receiving medical care.
A thorough contact investigation will be conducted to identify inmates and staff who may have been exposed, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s Department has taken additional steps to increase social distancing which will assist in their quarantine and isolation efforts for suspected or positive COVID-19 cases.
The measures are similar to the protocols being implemented by other jail and prison systems across the country:
• Restricted movement in seven-county jails to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission, other than for critical purposes such as medical procedures
• Implemented modified booking criteria which went into effect on December 4 to reduce the jail population
• No use of common areas
• Non-contact professional visits
• Expanded use of safety products such as N-95 masks while on duty for staff
• Expansive testing for staff on site
These measures build on many actions we have taken so far to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to employees and people in our custody.
• Contact tracing
• COVID-19 Testing
• Ongoing disinfecting and cleaning at all facilities
• Quarantine and Isolation Protocols
• No social visits
• No group activities
• Temperature checks
• Virtual Court Hearings
• Masks for inmates and staff
• Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff
• Handouts, posters and updated video messaging for inmates and staff about COVID-19
• Emphasis on handwashing and good hygiene
The Sheriff’s Department plans to commit to the safety, security, health, and wellbeing of people in their custody.