4 sheriff’s department employees, 1 inmate test positive for coronavirus

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Friday four employees and one inmate have tested positive for coronavirus.

The inmate, who has not been publicly identified, was taken into custody on domestic violence charges on Monday and was already experiencing flu-like symptoms at that time, Lt. Ricardo Lopez said in a news release. Due to coronavirus-related concerns, the inmate was given a mask and placed in isolation.

Exposure to officials within the department and other inmates has been limited since Monday and all individuals who may have been exposed to the virus through the inmate have been notified and encouraged to self-quarantine, Lopez said.

According to the sheriff’s department, four employees unrelated to the inmate’s positive diagnosis have also tested positive for coronavirus. The employees have not been publicly identified but are all doing well and in frequent contact with the department’s medical team, Lopez said in the release.

As of Friday afternoon, the department said 46 inmates in custody had been tested for coronavirus and 36 were in precautionary isolation after potential exposure.

In an attempt to limit the risk of exposure, sheriff’s officials said the department has been performing temperature checks on individuals in custody while they’re still in the patrol cars, placing potentially ill inmates in isolation and giving masks to those with symptoms. “In this instance, the protocols put in place worked and we were able to minimize the exposure to other inmates and staff right at intake,” Lopez said in the release.

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