The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Saturday announced a ninth employee and its first inmate to test positive for the coronavirus.
The latest worker diagnosed with COVID-19 is a deputy assigned to the agency’s corrections bureau.
Before getting tested, the officer had been off work with flu-like symptoms, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The deputy remained off duty and learned of the positive result on Saturday, officials said.
It’s unclear when the deputy—the seventh to test positive for the coronavirus in the county—contracted COVID-19, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Officials also announced Saturday that an inmate at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga had COVID-19.
He displayed symptoms and was treated at a hospital before being returned to jail and placed in isolation, authorities said. He continues to receive “around the clock” medical care, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
In neighboring Riverside County, two sheriff’s deputies died of COVID-19 on April 2.
One of them, 54-year-old Deputy Terrell Young, likely contracted the coronavirus while escorting an inmate to the Riverside University Health System in March, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said.
The other deputy who died, 51-year-old David Werksman, likely became infected while attending or arranging his mother’s funeral several weeks prior, Bianco said.
Law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities across the state have announced implementing additional safety measures to prevent infections among officers and inmates, such as limiting jail and prison visits and releasing some inmates early.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department previously announced that beginning March 19, county jails will only allow attorney and official visits.
“SBCSD recognizes the importance of visitation and its value to inmates and their loved ones; however, the short and long term health and wellbeing of all employees, inmates and those who visit county jails is of the utmost importance,” says a statement on the department’s website.