On Nov. 12, several inmates at the Santa Cruz County Main Jail tested positive for COVID-19, according to Sgt. Daniel Robbins, who termed it “the most significant outbreak in our jail since the start of the pandemic.”
Contract tracing is underway and the Sheriff’s Office investigating the source of the outbreak.
The rash of cases came to light during routine testing.
The inmates who tested positive are either asymptomatic — no symptoms — or have mild symptoms.
More extensive testing has been completed and the Sheriff’s Office is awaiting the results.
Approximately 35 to 40 inmates were exposed and are under quarantine protocol. Inmates who are under quarantine will continue to receive services. Inmates who test positive will be isolated and monitored by medical staff.
Persons brought into the jail are tested for COVID-19 using a rapid test, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and are quarantined until they receive a negative test result. Inmates are offered the COVID-19 vaccine, provided masks, given extra cleaning materials, and encouraged to socially distance.
Correctional officers go through testing protocols and wear masks for the entirety of their shifts.
“Our office is working closely with our medical provider at the jail as well as Santa Cruz County Public Health,” the press release said. “We are committed to ensuring the safety of all 279 inmates at the main jail as well as our staff.”