A total of 13 people have been directed to self-isolate in their homes following recent incidents in which they were exposed to a person who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus, authorities said.
The first incident occurred on March 12, when a civilian Sheriff’s employee who works in a control room at the Santa Barbara County Jail and had recently traveled to Europe became ill at work. The employee, a resident of San Luis Obispo County, sought medical attention and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, said Raquel Zick, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
A total of 12 colleagues, including four sworn custody deputies, one general services employee, two employees of Wellpath Healthcare and five civilian sheriff’s employees, had been in close proximity to the employee and were ordered to self-isolate. All were asymptomatic and were sent home. The employee who tested positive was also told to self-isolate, Ms. Zick said.
In another unrelated incident, an attorney from San Luis Obispo County became ill after working in a Santa Maria courtroom last week and later tested positive for coronavirus. The attorney’s inmate and the inmate he shared housing with at the Santa Barbara County Jail were both re-housed into a negative-pressure location. Their initial housing area was then cleaned and disinfected.
Both inmates were and remain asymptomatic and continue to be monitored by jail medical staff.
County health officials were notified of the incident. Those who had been present in the courtroom last Thursday, which included a Sheriff’s Deputy bailiff, were asymptomatic. They were instructed by the court to seek their own medical evaluation. The bailiff was also instructed to self-isolate.
Because all of the people who were exposed to the virus were asymptomatic, it was unclear Tuesday night if the people would be tested, Ms. Zick said.
The incidents come as the staff at the Santa Barbara County Jail continues to use safety protocols and health measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.