SAN DIEGO – Nearly 50 inmates at the George Bailey Detention Facility recently tested positive for COVID-19 with some moving into isolation units to limit exposure, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.
The outbreak at the Otay Mesa jail facility comes as an inmate tested positive for the virus Feb. 27, shortly after being transported to a local hospital with “flu-like symptoms.”
More than 100 inmates were tested due to potentially having contact with the unnamed inmate, who first was booked into the San Diego Central Jail in mid-February for charges related to driving under the influence, deputies said. The inmate later was transferred to the George Bailey Detention Facility.
Of the total tested, 46 cases were positive and 60 were negative.
Those testing positive for COVID-19 are being isolated for a minimum of 14 days. The department also is conducting contact tracing investigations to determine other inmates and staff exposed.
“We do not underestimate the challenges we face to keep COVID-19 from entering our county jails and have taken immediate action to safeguard the lives of people in our custody and those who work in our facilities,” the department said in a news release.
The department reported its jail population is “stable” at roughly 4,000 inmates, though officials are considering releasing some inmates “if necessary as we continue to monitor our population and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In total, San Diego County has reported 263,748 cases of COVID-19 and 3,405 deaths tied to the virus, including 473 new cases and 15 deaths on Tuesday.