All Santa Cruz County inmates tested negative for Covid-19, and no additional officers tested positive for the disease in the last two days, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
Currently, 10 correctional officers have tested positive for Covid-19 and are quarantining. An additional seven are quarantining due to possible exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes the disease at the center of the international pandemic. Those numbers have not changed since Wednesday. County contact tracers are investigating a party attended by correctional officers as the likely cause of the outbreak.
“This outbreak among correctional staff is very concerning,” Sheriff Jim Hart, who has not taken any questions about the outbreak, stated in a press release. “We operate one of the few jails in the country that has not had a Covid-19 outbreak among its incarcerated population. Thankfully, all Covid-19 tests from our remaining staff and incarcerated population have come back negative. Public Health’s contact tracers are still working on this incident to determine the origin of the outbreak. Once the contact tracers have completed their investigation my management team will conduct a thorough internal review to determine next steps.”
The sheriff’s office states that, upon booking, each incoming inmate is tested and housed in a quarantine unit for 14 days. They are tested a second time on the 12th day shortly before moving into the general population.
According to Friday’s press release, the sheriff’s office has implemented weekly testing for all staff and incarcerated people and will continue to work with public health employees to ensure best practices are enforced.