Press Releases

Saturday 07/18/2020 9:48 PM - Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19

Contact: Tony Cipolla
Phone: (805) 781-4547
Type of Incident: Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19
Date and Time of Incident: 7-18-20
Place of Occurrence: County Jail
Victim Information: N/A
Suspect Information: N/A
Details of News Release: Two inmates in the San Luis Obispo County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19. Late 7-16-20 one inmate was found to have fever and body aches and was immediately isolated in the jail’s medical unit. The inmate was tested for COVID-19 and the Sheriff’s Office received the positive test from the Public Health Department Lab on 7-17-20. The Sheriff’s Office conducted a contact tracing investigation to determine if anyone may have been exposed to the inmate while he was infectious and forwarded that investigation to the Public Health Department for evaluation and follow-up. On 7-18-20 another inmate developed a sore throat and was also isolated. The inmate was tested for COVID-19 and the Public Health Department’s Lab resulted the test the same day. Contact tracing was conducted as described above. “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.” These are the Jail’s first cases of COVID-19 in inmates, a stark contrast to most jails and prisons across California, the majority of which have been battling COVID-19 outbreaks in their facilities for months. These cases in the Jail align with the County of San Luis Obispo’s rising COVID-19 rate over the past two weeks. The ability to keep COVID-19 out of the Jail for over 4 months is attributed to the Jail’s comprehensive COVID-19 prevention plan, which includes: all arrestees being screened for fever and COVID symptoms by a nurse before entering the Jail, isolating anyone with symptoms in the medical unit and testing for COVID-19, quarantining all new arrestees for 14 days, screening staff for illness prior to starting work, providing masks for inmates, implementing video court to decrease community exposure, intensifying cleaning, and suspending in-person visiting, to name a few. To help inmates stay connected to their loved ones, the Jail has reduced the cost for video visitation and introduced an email service to enhance communication. “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 ill inmates are in good condition, are isolated, and the housing units where they lived are under quarantine. The exposed inmates in those units are checked for fever and respiratory symptoms daily by medical staff.

Prepared By: tcipolla
Released: Saturday 07/18/2020 10:00 PM