9 Santa Barbara Co. Sheriff’s Office custody workers test positive for COVID-19

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Nine members of custody staff at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department have contracted the novel coronavirus, authorities said Thursday.

The workers — five civilian employees and two deputies — were recovering at home, the agency said in a written statement.

All became symptomatic during days off work, officials said. They were screened for COVID-19 starting Friday.

“Each of these staff members stayed away from work after becoming symptomatic,” according to the statement.

The five infected civilian employees are assigned to custody records and have no contact with inmates, officials said. Three of the four deputies are assigned to administrative roles and do not have contact with inmates.

One of the deputies does have contact with inmates, “but did not work after becoming symptomatic,” the statement said.

Nine more custody staff employees who were experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms were home awaiting test results Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office said. Two more deputies who had been assigned to a courthouse where an infected staff member had been were also sent home to await test results, but they presented no COVID-19 symptoms.

“The Sheriff’s Office is working in conjunction with Public Health to conduct contact tracing and have all remaining jail staff tested for COVID-19,” the statement said.

No inmates in general population were known to be symptomatic, although two who showed possible symptoms during the booking process were being quarantined, officials said.

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